For the past five years, I have photographed with unrestricted access the newsroom and printing plant of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Through a depiction of The Inquirer’s efforts to prevail despite depleted ad revenue, a steady decline in circulation, lay-offs, buy-outs, and bankruptcy, my intent is to reveal the challenges and harsh realities that face the newspaper industry today.
This project has not received any financial backing and has been entirely self-funded for the past five years. It has been a long journey and I have pushed the boundaries to the absolute extreme on my own. To complete the final chapter of this story and fund the publication of DEADLINE, I humbly ask for your support. Please help make sure this story gets told.
A close examination of the newspaper industry and in-depth story explaining the events that landed newsrooms in their current predicaments has largely gone untold. Having shed 30% of its workforce in the past decade newspapers are America's fastest shrinking industry, yet more than half of American adults know little to nothing about the financial struggles that have eviscerated newsrooms. At a time when a third of U.S. adults get their news on Facebook, newspapers' transition into a digital era has been mired in a dire hunt for sustainable online advertising revenue as papers nationally have lost $25 billion in advertising revenue over the past ten years and in 2012 newspapers lost $16 in print ad revenue for every $1 made in digital ad revenue.
As we find ourselves amidst a massive societal transition into an information technology economy of the future in which technological advances have eroded middle skill, middle class jobs, boosted productivity while reducing the labor force, what has been the human cost of these gains? The newspaper for centuries has served as a cornerstone of American society holding our country’s institutions, CEOs, politicians and big businesses accountable for their actions, upholding the values, laws and morals that our democracy was founded upon. When we lose reporters, editors, newsbeats and sections of papers, we lose coverage, information, and a connection to our cities and our society, and, in the end, we lose ourselves. Without the human investment to provide news content it becomes a zero sum game on the information highway to nowhere. The fibers of the paper and the clicks of the mouse are worthless unless the words they are presented on have value. The newspaper is much more than a business, it is a civic trust.