Daily Debrief: Tech journalists feeling the crunch

Tech Industry
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Welcome to the Daily Debrief. I am CNET's Carla DuBois, I'm here with CNET News senior writer Greg Sandraval [Phonetic], and as part of an ongoing series that CNET News has created, journalists are covering the tech layoffs in this tough economy. And the angle that Greg recently took is all about tech journalists. Why don't you tell us about the man you profiled? >> Robert Mullen is a long-time journalist. A ten-year veteran of technology news. And he suddenly finds himself out of work in a down economy. >> Right. And this happened over the summer, he was laid off. >> Right. >> And what was the reason for the layoff, just we can't pay your salary? >> Just -- there was a bunch of -- he was -- it was a round of layoffs, and we're starting to see it. Mainly newspapers, but it's starting to hit tech journalism as well. >> Absolutely. So what has this man done to stay afloat? >> He's going out and pitching stories to newspapers, to tech trade pubs, he's hustling to find freelance work. >> And is there any out there? >> He says there is. There is. There's lots of -- because a lot -- in tough times a lot of publications have decided to hire freelancers and pay on a per story basis. But the question is whether he can pay his bills doing this. >> Absolutely. It's not salaried, clearly. It's -- there's no saving, there's no 401 K built in, there's no benefits. He's got a lot of extra expenses going out. >> Right. >> That when you get paid per word or per article, it's tough to see if that adds up. >> You've got to -- the trick is to, like, gather as many clients, as many publications that give him consistent work. >> There you go. >> But it's a guessing game, still. He doesn't know for sure if he can make a go of it. >> And I'm sure right now the competition is especially fierce. Not only with other people who are laid off, but you know, with those young little whipper-snappers who are fresh out of college. >> That's right. That's right. The competition is going to get tougher as there's more layoffs in the newspapers and other publications. So it's going to be very tough. >> Yeah. Especially if people are, you know, blogging more, willing to work for less. >> That's right. >> What do you think this means? I mean, let's look at a little big picture about the industry of journalism. I guess specifically tech. I mean, you're predicting more layoffs. >> Yes, absolutely. Things are going to get only harder. And the big question is whether people want to have professionals going out and getting news for them, or whether they're satisfied with people who do this, you know, insiders that report on their own personal blog. And I think the problem with that though, and of course I'm biased, but I think the problem with that is that professional news gatherers, that's all we do. We go out and get info. There's no -- hopefully there's no conflicts of interest or we're not doing it as a side job, we're doing it all the time. >> Right. >> But maybe the public doesn't want it. I don't know. >> Yeah. This economic downturn could really be the game changer for how journalism works. >> Oh, I think -- I think the -- the media industry is going to be vastly different in a year from now. >> Yeah. Well we've already seen it trickle in, the way that so many publications have gone web-based only. >> Right. >> You know, and that you don't need, like, international bureaus any more when people can connect through the Internet. >> No. They're disappearing. Maybe in a year from now the whole concept of a foreign journalist or a foreign correspondent won't even exist. >> Yeah, yeah. Well knock of wood that CNET News is staying afloat. >> Keep our fingers crossed, yes. >> Thank you so much. Greg Sandraval. I'm Carla DuBois, we'll see you on the next Daily Debrief. ^M00:03:21 [ Music ]

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