Journalism in Crisis: Layoffs and wage cuts affect US and Brazil

Research released by the International Institute Pew Research Center reveal that in 10 years the number of professionals in the American newsrooms fell by about 23% between the years of 2008 to 2017. With this, there are 27,000 fewer jobs in the country. In print newspapers, the number is even worse and has a 45% reduction in jobs.

The number of professional journalists in the newsrooms in the U.S is growing daily, such as the recent layoffs of Colorado’s oldest state newspaper, The Pueblo Chieftan, increasingly thicken a common statistic of the profession around the world. In Brazil, this scenario is no different and gains a new chapter from the strike of journalists set off in the state of Alagoas, at dawn last Tuesday (25), and that left the three main television networks transmitting old material in the last days.

The strike, which has almost 100% of regional professionals, is mobilized by journalists who oppose the reduction of 40% of the salary level proposed by the owners of the television channels: TV Gazeta (affiliated with the Globo TV Channel), Pajuçara Communication System (affiliated to TV Record) and TV Ponta Verde (affiliated to SBT). Since then, without these professionals in newsrooms and television stands, news programs burn the database with cold and old material, as well as starring in real national gaffes during live broadcasts – where new television anchors are hired in a hurry to pass on daily information.

According to the president of the Union of Journalists of Alagoas (Sindjornal), Izaias Barbosa, the situation only came to this point because the companies did not position themselves to negotiate and did not respond to eight counterproposals sent by the union since April. The floor is an achievement of the category since 1991 and today is set at RS$ 3,564, which would represent a significant decrease to RS$ 2,150.00. Also according to the president, besides the TV stations, professionals of radios and printed also joined the strike.

In contrast, in an interview with a local newspaper, TV’s representative Pajuçara, Leonardo Palmeira Sampaio, claims that the telecommunications market is facing a critical situation and that the journalists’ floor in Alagoas is the second largest in Brazil. Palmeira also points to a 50% drop in Pajuçara System revenue, despite recent channel advertising pointing to the opposite: a record audience growth over the last four years, following a survey conducted by Kantar Ibope in 2019.


The movement has managed to win the spotlight and gain support from various regional and national entities. Guilherme Boulos and the governor of the state, Renan Filho, are also members of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, politicians – as former candidate for the presidency of Brazil, – endorse support for wage reduction. The Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) also took a stand and issued a repudiation of the solution presented by the media companies.

In Venezuela, the journalist and correspondent for TeleSUR (Brazil’s multi-state television network) also used social networks to express support for Brazilians. The Brazilian journalist who works in the United States as correspondent, Rodrigo Lins, defends respect for the category of journalists and also criticizes the current scenario of disregard for these professionals.

“We went through the whole world for a moment of total disrespect and disfellowshipping of the journalistic doing. It is very important that we all unite for the appreciation of our profession. Society must ask itself: who is interested in the weakening of our category? Who wins with a construction of news free of reflections and based on vested interests? “, Warns Rodrigo Lins who graduated from the Federal University of Alagoas.

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