Poynter Institute for Media Studies has reported on yet another round of staff reductions in Gannett newsrooms and other departments nationwide.
Gannett recently purchased the Peoria Journal Star. The paper currently has less than 10 percent of the newsroom employees it once had. That means much of the essential news of government bodies and community events goes unreported.
In a statement to analysts, Mike Reed, Gannett CEO, said he still expects to add to newsroom staffing over the second half of 2020. However, what’s unclear is whether any of those additions will be in actual local news gathering and reporting or will be focused on the marketing and digital dissemination of national news generated by USA Today, the Gannett flagship paper.
The Epoch Times
Another interesting development: the press at the Journal Star has started printing “The Epoch Times,” a tabloid that bills its mission to revive truth and tradition. Yet the editor-in-chief of The Epoch Times reports that Facebook has blocked his paper from advertising. This comes when Facebook is being pressured to clamp down on posting falsehoods.
Some recent coverage in The Epoch Times: mail-in voting issues pile up (despite authorities assuring people that voting by mail is safe); resurrection of the Hillary Clinton scandals (despite years of investigations yielding no charges against Clinton); coverage of allegations that China tried to deliberately spread COVID-19 (also debunked).
And opinion pieces: “Those burning our cities aim to destroy our civilization;” “Schools using fake ‘history’ to kill America” including the assertion “this strategic rewriting of history in public schools across America has led to dramatic shifts in Americans’ attitudes, values, beliefs, and worldview;” “How China’s coverup led to a global pandemic” (particularly ironic since we know Donald Trump was lying to the public about the virus when he knew how deadly it was).
The Epoch Times bills itself as “Preserving Our Values for the Next Generation.” One of its ads states: “Our nation is experiencing an erosion of family values, the desecration of morality –– and most of all, the increasing dominance of socialist and communist factors in our government and broader society.” “Our society’s demoralization comes down to one source: communist ideology in its myriad forms and with its ultimate goal of destroying human morality. When we as Americans clearly see and heartily reject this evil force, we can win this battle.” “For months, Americans faced the threat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus.” “And before we were able to recover, the communist-extremist group Antifa took advantage of civil unrest” and now calls for “abolishing the police.”
One subhead in an article headlined “Why Real Power Lies Within Families” is: “Who is suggesting or legislating that mothers and fathers are unnecessary to families? Who is working to make the care of young children a government run endeavor?” (This looks like an attempt to discredit Head Start, one of the most-researched, highly-revered, best government program for preschoolers.)
When even Facebook won’t take advertising from The Epoch Times, it’s alarming Gannett and the Journal Star print the publication in Peoria.