There is growing news about salary cuts and job losses. Why is most of it about media companies? What about agencies and other creative firms? And how should afaqs! cover this?
We've been struggling with a dilemma at afaqs!.
We are committed to cover the COVID-19 crisis in every way that it touches advertising, marketing and media. Should we then report all the pay cuts and firings?
Last week, we wrote about the pay cuts at Indian Express and BookMyShow, two of the early ones. This week, as the trickle turned into a flood, we were left asking whether we should relook our policy.
While we do want to cover the pain, should we write of every firing? We know media firms are reeling. If we file only gloomy reports, it's great for our traffic, but only fuels the downward spiral in which we are all caught.
Our solution: While we will not write on firings on a daily basis, we will do trend and human stories around the issue. And yes, we will report on the closure of editions and channels. And we will seek to go beyond just media companies.
Why are media companies drawing so much attention anyway? How come there is little news about ad agencies, production houses, activation and events firms, and marketing companies? Surely they are all devastated.
One explanation is that journalists have a big following on social media. Also, they are apt to quickly express themselves unlike, say, a manager, who will keep it bottled up.
Media companies draw more attention than agencies because they are consumer-facing brands made up of familiar faces. News about the newsmakers always makes news.
The traditional point of view in journalism is, ‘Publish and be damned!’. Meaning, just go ahead and run the story without a thought for the consequences.
But the current circumstances are such that we are damned anyway. That’s why we should be careful about what we publish.