Posts tagged with "unemployment"

Fifteen Tips for an Effective Job Search

Job searching isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming, either. There are many factors to consider when you’re looking for your next position, but you can break them down into three basic stages: assess, research, and apply.

By working through these stages, you can significantly decrease stress and find your next job quickly. Let’s get started!

Stage 1: Assess

Before you update your LinkedIn account or start searching job boards, begin by deciding what qualities you’re looking for in a job.

Get out a journal and your colored pens, and work through the following brainstorming questions to set a solid foundation for yourself. You’ll use these notes to filter possible jobs later on in the research stage.

  1. Check Your Hours

Job hours vary widely. Consider the difference between a regular 9-to-5 and a job waiting tables or working retail. Ask yourself the following questions to decide what kind of job would work best for you:

  • How many hours a week do you want to work? Remember to consider other responsibilities, and don’t overload yourself if you can help it.
  • What kind of job hours have you worked before, and what did you like/dislike about them?
  • Do you prefer a regular, dependable schedule or schedules that vary week to week? 
  • Are you okay with overtime?
  1. Consider Pay

Next, think about compensation. Don’t shortchange yourself, but do be realistic about what companies offer, especially if this is your first job. To get a better sense of your paycheck goals, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my living expenses month-to-month?
  • What are my savings goals?
  • What percentage of my paycheck will go to taxes (local, state, and federal)?
  • Do I have a buffer in case of emergencies?

While you’re thinking about pay, also consider company benefits:

  • Do you want a pension, 401(k), or a company savings plan?
  • What kind of health care package do you need?
  • How many days of paid time off would you like?
  1. Integrate Personal Goals

Think about how you’d like your job to connect with the rest of your life. Do you have personal goals that you can combine with work?

  • Do you want the option of a raise in the near future?
  • Do you want to go back to school eventually?
  • What personal growth goals do you have for yourself?
  • What positive benefits do you hope to receive from your job, other than financial pay?
  1. Determine Your Working Style

Learning about yourself and how you work best is a life-long process. Start with what you already know and consider what kind of job environment would best suit you. Below are some questions to help you get started:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Do you enjoy working with others or by yourself?
  • Do you operate better in quiet or crowded settings?
  • How much oversight do you need to feel motivated?
  • How do you communicate with others best?
  1. Decide on Location

Location is another essential factor to consider during the assessment stage. Many people move when they get a new job. However, in the last few years, remote work options have increased. Answer these questions next:

  • Does working remotely sound amazing to you?
  • Are you excited to work in an office?
  • Would you be willing to move for a job?
  • If so, where would you be excited to move?

Stage 2: Research

Great work! Now that you’ve considered your side of the working relationship, it’s time to look at your potential employers. Take a break, grab a coffee, and get started!

  1. Keep a Record

Before you start searching, make a spreadsheet to keep track of what you find. Add categories for company names, job roles, pay, benefits, hours, notes, and your current application status. 

Filling out this spreadsheet as you go will save you a lot of time and confusion later.

  1. Search Job Boards

Now that your spreadsheet is all set up, you’re ready to start searching! Here’s where your notes from earlier come in handy. Use the filters offered on the job sites below to streamline your searches based on personal preferences. This list of job sites is by no means exhaustive, but it’s an excellent place to start:

  • Indeed
  • SimplyHired
  • Handshake
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster Jobs
  • Glassdoor
  • Hired
  1. Talk to People

Don’t conduct all of your research over a computer screen. Talk to people you know and let them know you’re job searching. Many work opportunities come through word of mouth. Consider taking these additional steps to round out your research:

  • Message an employee over LinkedIn and ask for a phone call.
  • Schedule an in-person peer interview.
  • Talk to people you know who work for the company or work similar jobs.
  • Go to networking events and career fairs.

One thing that sometimes goes unsaid is to ask for help if your mental health is affecting your search. Finding gainful employment is essential, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of your well-being.

  1. Dig Deeper

To get a better picture of the companies you’re considering, check their websites. Google them and read employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor. Just remember that for every angry review you read, there may be 10 happy employees.

Stage 3: Apply

Now that your research is complete, you should have new connections and a spreadsheet filled with multiple job opportunities. Time for stage three: applying. Here’s how to move through the application process and get hired.

  1. Update Your LinkedIn Account

Four people are hired every minute through LinkedIn. Updating your LinkedIn profile makes it easy for recruiters to find you and gives them easy access to more information about you. Get professional headshots and update your LinkedIn profile before you start sending out applications.

  1. Revamp Your Resume

If you are applying to high-competition positions with many applicants, your resume may be read by a machine rather than a person. So, while it may be tempting to make your resume look stylish and artsy, it’s better for you to make it scannable. Use clear sections, a simple font, and dark headlines.

Avoid images and incorporate your LinkedIn account into your contact information instead. Tailor each resume you send out to fit the company role you hope to fill.

  1. Write Cover Letters

Personalize your application further by also including a cover letter. There you can share what you can bring to each company and why you’re excited to work with them.

Make it clear that you’ve researched their company and that you align with their values. Be clear and personable, and end with a thank you.

  1. Apply In-Person

If you can, deliver your resume and cover letter in-person. Making personal contact with your future employer makes it far more likely that they’ll hire you.

Hiring is a time-consuming and challenging process – it’s not fun for companies, either! Give relief to the hiring manager by making yourself an easy choice for the position.

  1. Pass the Interview

Interviews don’t have to be stressful. Remember: an interview is your chance to get to know a company just as much as it’s their chance to talk to you. Ask questions, listen, and be genuine.

Working with a company is a partnership, and an interview helps both parties know if it will be a long-lasting and successful one. Do your research and connect genuinely with your interviewers.

  1. Follow Up

After applications and interviews, send follow-up emails. This extra bit of human contact shows companies you care and reminds them of your name. You know that you’d be a fantastic employee – show them that by using your excellent people skills.

Be creative and take every opportunity to show companies that you’re personable, motivated, and genuine. Hopefully, you’ll hear back from several potential employers soon.

Congratulations!

At this point, you’ve done everything you can. Take a breather, and rest. Remember that it can take a long time for hiring agents to get back to you, so be patient.

It’s a good idea to repeat the cycle of assessing, researching, and applying at least once while you wait for responses. More experience with the process may have changed your priorities or opened up new questions. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something you didn’t initially think would work for you.

Happy job searching!

360 football illustration for sports articles

THE ECONOMIC SUPER BOWL

In midst of a pandemic that devastated society, including sports, the total wealth of 64 billionaire sports barons shot up by $98.5 billion, or over 30 percent. Taxpayer subsidies for stadiums of 26 billionaire team owners have totaled $9 billion since 1990, with most in last decade.

We won’t know the winner of this year’s Super Bowl till Sunday, but we already know the big winners in our COVID-ravaged economy include dozens of billionaire sports barons.

On the eve of the big game, and after 10 plus months of the pandemic, 64 billionaire owners of major league sports franchises—including the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs’ Hunt family and the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Glazer family—have enjoyed a $98.5 billion rise in their collective net worth, a 30 percent increase, as millions of fans have fallen ill, lost jobs, neared eviction, gone hungry and died due to the coronavirus.

The 64 billionaires, who together own or co-own 68 professional sports franchises, had a combined wealth of $426 billion on January 29, 2021. This number is up from $326 billion on March 18, 2020, roughly since the start of the pandemic lockdowns, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), and data analysis from Forbes and Wealth-X. (Note: The increase in total billionaire wealth from March to January was $100 billion, but has been adjusted to $98.5 billion because an additional billionaire reached that status in January 2021.)

The sports billionaires’ private gain in the midst of so much public pain is particularly galling since many of their franchises have been the beneficiaries of taxpayer handouts. Over the past several decades, according to data maintained by Field of Schemes, 28 pro sports teams owned by 26 billionaires have received $9 billion in taxpayer subsidies (see Table here) to help build or update stadiums and arenas and make other investments that billionaires could presumably afford on their own. These publicly subsidized team owners have seen their wealth increase $45 billion since mid-March.

For the full report go to Pandemic Super Bowl 2021: Billionaires Win, We Lose.

Over the past five years—when a lot of sweetheart tax deals were cut—the collective wealth of sports billionaires shot up $165 billion, or 67 percent. Their combined wealth of $247 billion in March 2016 had grown to $426 billion by January 29 of this year. (Nine billionaires on the list in 2021 were not billionaires in 2016, accounting for the $14 billion discrepancy.)

The $98.5 billion wealth gain by 64 sports franchise billionaires since March 2020 could pay for:

  • A stimulus check of $1,400 for over 70 million Americans—almost half of the 153 million people who likely will be eligible under the pandemic relief plan proposed by President Biden based on the 2020 stimulus payments.
  • More than one-third of the $290 billion cost of providing $400-a-week supplements to existing unemployment benefits through September, as proposed by President Biden in his COVID rescue plan.

March 18 is used as the unofficial beginning of the pandemic because by then most federal and state economic restrictions responding to the virus were in place. Moreover, March 18 was also the date on which Forbes estimated billionaire wealth for the 2020 version of its annual report. That report provided a detailed baseline that ATF and IPS have been comparing periodically with real-time data from the Forbes website. [See past reports here] This methodology has been favorably reviewed by PolitiFact.

Last March is when the nation’s emergency response to the deadly virus threw professional sports, along with the rest of society, into turmoil. Thousands of low-paid stadium and arena workers lost their jobs as sports seasons were cancelled and curtailed.

The long winning streak of America’s billionaire sports owners is just part of the dominance of a national dynasty of 661 U.S. billionaires whose wealth has grown by $1.2 trillion, or 40%, during the pandemic. The number has climbed from $2.9 trillion on March 18 to $4.13 trillion, as of January 29, 2021 (see link here for all data).

Though only one of their teams will lift the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champs this year, both the Chiefs’ Hunt family—specifically, Ray Lee Hunt and W. Herbert Hunt—and the Bucs’ Glazer family will continue their long reigns among the nation’s biggest economic winners. The Hunts’ net worth is estimated by Forbes at $6.3 billion, up $482 million during the COVID crisis. The Chiefs received $250 million in taxpayer subsidies for stadium renovations in 2006.

The Buc’s Glazer family is worth an estimated $1.7 billion, according to Wealth-X. Taxpayers provided a total of $218 million in subsidies for construction and renovation of the Buccaneer stadium in 1998 and 2015.

Sixty U.S. billionaires—roughly one in ten of the country’s 661 total billionaires—own one or more major league professional sports teams in the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MBL), and National Hockey League (NHL). Four other billionaires—three from Canada and one from Germany—own four additional teams.

“These billionaire sports barons have seen their wealth rise as their fans lose their lives, livelihoods, health and wealth,” said Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies, Program on Inequality.  “As a country, we should be investigating pandemic profiteering and taxing windfall gains during these extraordinary times.”

“The Super Bowl brings the whole nation together, but we have not come together as a country to beat the pandemic,” said Americans for Tax Fairness executive director Frank Clemente. “Billionaire sports owners have continued their long winning streak of ever-growing fortunes while fans at home are losing their lives and livelihoods. Real team work would require billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes so we can get the whole U.S. back to its winning ways.”

“Every year, wealthy sports team owners rake in more than two billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies for new stadiums and arenas that, according to innumerable economic studies, provide zero measurable economic benefit to the public,” said Neil DeMause, co-author of Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit, and editor of the stadium news site. “Letting billionaire owners socialize their costs and privatize their profits has allowed the rich to get richer, while starving local governments of revenue to pay for schools and other genuine public needs.”

Tax reform that ensures the wealthy pay their fair share—the principle President Biden’s tax plan is built on—would transform a good chunk of those huge billionaire gains into public revenue to help heal a hurting nation. But getting at that big boost in billionaire fortunes is not as simple as raising tax rates: tax rules let the rich delay, diminish and even ultimately avoid any tax on the growth in their wealth. What’s needed is structural change to how wealth is taxed.

The most direct approach is an annual wealth tax on the biggest fortunes, proposed by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, among others. Another option is the annual taxation of investment gains on stocks and other tradable assets, an idea advanced by the new Senate Finance Committee chair, Ron Wyden. Even under the current discounted tax rates for investment income, if Wyden’s plan had been in effect in 2020 America’s billionaire sports owners would be paying billions of dollars in extra taxes this spring thanks to their gargantuan pandemic profits last year. Another reform is needed to significantly strengthen the estate tax so that the riches accumulated by these ultra-wealthy sports franchise owners pay their fair share of taxes when these dynasties get passed onto their heirs.

Kamala Harris illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Win With Black Women

Back in 2016, while campaigning for the office of President of the United States, Donald Trump asked black voters, “What do you have to lose?”

He asked in reference to generations of oppression, violence and inequality, saying, “You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. 58% of your youth is unemployed.”

The obvious implication is that things couldn’t possibly get worse for black voters, and Trump thought he had a chance to be the solution to the problem.

Well, in Sept. 2020, it seems that President Trump has his answer, and it comes in the form of a letter penned by Win With Black Women and co-signed by over 1,000 black female leaders.

The letter opens with a direct response to the question posed by Trump.

“Our answer, evidenced by increasingly poor economic outcomes, high racial tensions and hate incidents, the coronavirus, and an overall lack of dignity and respect in the White House, is a lot. And for Black women in particular, it’s too much,” the letter said.

It went on to discuss “sycophantic rhetoric” at the RNC that would lead watchers to believe that black life in America is in a healthier place now than it was prior to Trump’s election. Furthermore, the letter said that rhetoric insisted that anyone challenging that notion was brainwashed.

To refute the points set forth at the RNC, the letter cited the State of Black America, saying black households bring in 41% less than white households, and 60% of the black population lives below the poverty line. The letter also said that black unemployment is double the percentage of white unemployment.

The letter covered the cause of the recent protests throughout the country, saying, “Our lives are in constant threat under your Administration. If you are Black in America, you are three times more likely to be shot by the police,” going on to name Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Jacob Blake as evidence that justice has gone unserved.

It also mentioned that black people are dying disproportionally from COVID-19 while black women, specifically, “lag behind in life expectancy, and maternal and infant mortality.”

Win With Black Women finished by saying that they will fight against attacks on Kamala Harris and proposed a call to action.

“We call on voters, no matter their background, to join us in setting the record straight and to reject your distracting antics, lies and attacks. We call on you and the GOP to focus on the crises afflicting the American people and not to insult every American with petty diversions, outright lies, and by sweeping problems under the rug.  We call on voters to stand in solidarity with Black women and reject your derogatory sexist, racist rhetoric aimed at undermining our credibility, our character, and our achievements,” the letter said.

Before closing the letter, Win With Black Women said they “vow to continue to uplift the issues most important to our families and our communities, keep our eyes and ears open, and to work to restore what is true, just, and decent to this election and to this monumental time in history.”

Win With Black Women has published the letter on Change.org, asking signees of the petition to stand with them in unity. To sign the letter and to see a complete list of co-signing leaders, you can click right here.

United States Suicide Crisis

The United States is a nation currently plagued by many crises. We are facing a public health, economic, and civil rights crisis all at the same time. The coronavirus pandemic alone is changing almost every facet of life for hundreds of millions of Americans. Cases of COVID19 are rising again with fear and anxiety close behind.

Dr. Carlin Barnes and Dr. Marketa Wills – two Harvard-trained psychiatrists and co-founders of Healthy Mind MDs, LLC – a wellness enterprise whose sole mission is to improve the emotional and mental well-being of all Americans. They believe this increased rate of clinical anxiety and depression can lead to another major crisis – suicide. Mental health professionals are concerned that suicide rates will greatly increase over the next few months related to Americans deal with what is happening around them. 

Suicide is not a new national problem. Research has established a strong link between economic upheaval and suicide and substance us In fact, it is a public health crisis that has plagued America for quite some time. Suicide rates among adults in the U.S. were on the rise before this pandemic. In 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that suicide deaths among those age 1 to 64 had increased to 35% in less than two decades. It is evident by our nation’s response, COVID-19 caught us off guard. A study of the Great Recession that began in late 2007 found that every percentage point increase in the unemployment rate, there was about a 1.6 percent increase in the suicide rate.

Drs. Barnes and Wills believe it is important that we, individually and collectively, ring the alarm regarding the possibilities of COVID-19 related suicide. They are available to talk about the signs of a loved one who may be contemplating suicide and how to combat it. Signs include:

• Extreme withdrawal from all family and friends from someone who had previously been outgoing and friendly

• Increased use of alcohol and drugs

• Stating that life is not worth living

• Starting to get possessions and final paperwork in order

• Erratic behaviors,  mood swings, increased agitation/aggression/irritability

• Severe changes in sleep (increased sleep or decreased sleep) and appetite (increased appetite or decreased appetite

Given this confluence of stressors, the mental health of many Americans is becoming a major concern as we adapt to absorb the psychologic impact of all these major events. Data shows that one third of U.S  adults have reported symptoms of clinical anxiety and depression related to this public health crisis.

Barnes, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist and behavioral health medical director at a Fortune 500 managed care company. For the past eighteen years, she has practiced child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry—she has a thriving, diverse, boutique private practice with patient clientele ranging from working adults to urban children and  adolescents. She trained in the specialty of psychiatry at programs  affiliated with both Harvard University and Emory University Schools Medicine and attended Texas A&M University College of Medicine, where she received a Doctor of Medicine degree. Dr. Barnes is a member of several professional organizations including the National Medical Association, the Black Psychiatrists of America, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. She is originally from Hillside, New Jersey, and currently resides in Houston, Texas, where she lives with her son.

Marketa Wills, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist with a master’s in business administration from the Wharton School of Business and serves as a physician executive at a Fortune 500 health insurance company. She has cared for severely mentally ill patients in inpatient, outpatient, and emergency room clinical settings. As treatment team leader and medical director, she effectively collaborated with other mental professionals to ensure that patients with a variety of ailments—ranging from schizophrenia to postpartum depression to substance abuse—were able to live as productively as possible. Dr.Wills earned her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed a residency in adult psychiatry at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Hospital program. In her last year of the program, she served as chief resident. She has received numerous accolades and awards highlighting her clinical and community achievements. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, she currently resides in sunny Tampa, Florida.

The doctors have shared their expertise on numerous news outlets as well as CBS News, NBC Syndication and CBS Radio.
July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Drs. Barnes and Wills would be ideal experts to talk about mental health and suicide issues.

Unemployment and Voter Turnout

The “angry voter hypothesis” is a popular narrative that many voters are driven to the polls by economic anxiety. But a new study shows that hundreds of thousands of Americans hit by the 2008 recession actually avoided participating in subsequent elections.

The same phenomenon could happen this November as the United States experiences historic levels of unemployment, said the study’s author, Ben McCartney, an assistant professor of finance at Purdue University and an expert in household finance and voter participation. With so much financial distress on their plate, voting could be the last thing on their minds. “My concern going forward is that this story is going to repeat itself,” he said.

McCartney found that a 10% decline in local home prices decreased the participation rate of an average mortgaged homeowner by 1.6%, amounting to 800,000 potential votes over the course of the 2010 and 2012 national elections. The effect was less intense for renters and particularly severe for homeowners with little to no equity in their homes. He estimated that financial distress from the economic downturn was to blame.

McCartney used North Carolina voter files, housing data and Zillow home values for his analysis. His findings were recently published online as an accepted manuscript in The Review of Financial Studies.

“It’s a case where the opportunity costs now of voting are very high for some people,” he said. “It’s relatively easy for people to say, ‘I’m not going to worry about it this cycle. How do I figure out if I’m registered to vote? Where’s my polling place? Who is running for the various offices? I’ve got too much stuff on my plate, the economy is collapsing and I’m trying not to foreclose. Maybe now I’m taking care of the kids myself instead of sending them to day care, maybe I’m working more hours or working overtime.’ That is the story that I find fits the data better than this angry voter hypothesis.”

Fortunately, home prices have remained stable during the recent economic downturn due to high demand and low housing stock. But Zillow estimates prices to drop by 2%-3% and rebound by next year.

Four of 10 states that held their primary elections on June 2 saw a decline in voter turnout compared with 2016, according to analytics website FiveThirtyEight.com. The expansion of mail-in voting could have contributed to higher turnout in the six other states, according to the report.

McCartney said that potential voters could be more concerned about recovering from closures, furloughs and layoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Households hit hard by this crisis are going to turn to credit cards and short-term loans,” he said. “Even if the economic ship is somewhat righted by November, a lot of households’ financial situations will have really deteriorated. And, for financially distressed households, voting is something easy to just drop from the to-do list. The implications for voter turnout are worrying.”

Ben McCartney (Courtesy photo)

McCartney is a faculty affiliate in the Purdue University Research Center in Economics. His research was supported by Purdue’s Krannert School of Management and Duke University.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap here.

Mental Health × The Coronavirus Pandemic

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy stated, “It was said, in an earlier age, that the mind of a man is a far country which can neither be approached nor explored. But, today, under present conditions of scientific achievement, it will be possible for a nation as rich in human and material resources as ours to make the remote reaches of the mind accessible.” This sentiment rings especially true today as our country battles one of its most enduring enemies: COVID-19.

As Americans continue to stay at home and adhere to social distancing guidelines to fight the coronavirus pandemic, it cannot be forgotten that social isolation, financial burden, and job loss can be extremely difficult, especially for those who are struggling with their mental health. In a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, nearly half (45%) of adults in the U.S. reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. As our nation continues to weather this crisis, mandated public health measures such as shelter-in-place and social distancing, albeit necessary, are contributing to poor mental health outcomes including anxiety, depression, and increased substance use.

We are now at a watershed moment in American history. Will the Administration reevaluate and prioritize the mental health of U.S. citizens? Will they look the other way? Immediate action is particularly important for those who are already in jeopardy including individuals living with disabilities, veterans, and seniors.

To combat COVID-19’s toll on our economy, states have been asked to institute budget cuts, which will in turn cause great harm to programs that support vital mental health services. Furthermore, of the $2 trillion invested in the recent CARES Act, only 0.04 percent of the economic relief package was allocated to mental health programs. During a time when diagnoses and symptoms are mounting, these critical programs will most likely lack the funding needed to survive the pandemic.

Our past demonstrates clearly that nothing will change without power or demand. That’s why renowned, national leaders such as Easterseals and The Kennedy Forum are spearheading a dialogue grounded in advocacy to bolster mental health services and expand access to treatment. Unfortunately, it’s taken a global pandemic to generate conversation about the greater need for funding.

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly spurred change in the way mental health is treated and talked about in our society. It’s no longer considered a taboo subject. In fact, discussion on how to create opportunities for awareness, empathy, collaboration, and funding is now encouraged and celebrated. So, let’s act on this important paradigm shift and do whatever it takes to spark lasting change.

To learn more about how Easterseals and The Kennedy Forum are addressing mental health amid the coronavirus pandemic, we are happy to have the opportunity to share our recent one-on-one discussion. Ultimately, the expansion of, and increased access to, mental health services will continue to be critical to minimize the adverse effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy is the founder of The Kennedy Forum and author of the New York Times Bestseller, “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction.” He also co-chairs Mental Health for US and the Action Alliance’s Mental Health & Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19. 

Angela Williams is President and CEO of Easterseals, a 101-year-old nonprofit which delivers high-quality services and powerful advocacy to 1.5 million individuals with disabilities, veterans, seniors and their families each year through its network of 68 affiliates in communities nationwide. Its services include early intervention, autism services, mental health care and support, workforce development and senior services.

Save Journalism Project Launches To Protect Our Press From Big Tech

BuzzFeed Reports on Recently Laid Off Journalists Serving  As Spox For New Campaign To Save Journalism From Monopolistic Power of Big Tech Companies

Today, BuzzFeed reports on the Save Journalism Project that’s launching to raise awareness and engagement about the critical need to save journalism as it faces an existential threat—the monopolistic power of big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple destroying the economic model of the entire journalism industry, whether its traditional circulation newspapers or digital news outlets. At the same time, Google and Facebook have made acquisition after acquisition, gaining a monopolistic position that lets them dominate the digital advertising marketplace and distribute massive amounts of content from news publishers on their platforms without paying to produce the content. Just now are Facebook, Google, and other tech giants facing federal government and Congressional antitrust scrutiny.

Two recently laid off reporters will serve as spokespeople for the Save Journalism Project, Laura Bassett  and John StantonLearn More and Join the Fight at SaveJournalism.org and@SaveTheNews.

BuzzFeed: These Reporters Lost Their Jobs. Now They’re Fighting Back Against Big Tech.

“John Stanton and Laura Bassett are warning about what they believe the tech industry is doing to journalism, as thousands have lost their jobs this year alone.

By Rosie Gray”

Two prominent reporters who were recently laid off from digital media outlets are forming a new advocacy group formed to raise awareness about big tech’s impact on the journalism industry.

John Stanton, a longtime congressional correspondent and former BuzzFeed News Washington bureau chief, and Laura Bassett, a former culture and political reporter for nearly 10 years at the Huffington Post, have teamed up to launch a new initiative called the Save Journalism Project. The two have first-hand experience with the troubled state of the news industry: Stanton was laid off from BuzzFeed News during a round of layoffs that affected 200 people company-wide this winter and spurred a unionization drive among the news staff. Bassett lost her job in similar fashion in January after Huffington Post laid off 20 employees as part of larger cuts at its parent company, Verizon Media.

This year has been one of the worst in recent memory for journalism jobs. Across the industry, thousands have lost their jobs: from BuzzFeed News, Vice, CNN, and others across the country at local publications. Media organizations have been imperiled by crashing advertising revenues as Facebook and Google vacuum up available ad dollars.

Their new project will be set up as a nonprofit, according to Eddie Vale, a Democratic consultant whose firm is providing the man-power to launch the effort. Vale pitched Bassett on the idea, and the two of them brought in Stanton. Vale said initial funding had been secured from “someone who doesn’t want to be public so Google and Facebook don’t go after them,” and the group plans to continue to fundraise. So far, the pair have co-authored testimony given to the Senate Judiciary Committee highlighting the tech giants’ impact on the news industry — “since being laid off, we’ve made it our mission to understand how the digital marketplace works and how Big Tech is killing the journalism industry,” they wrote — flown a plane above Google’s I/O conference, and authored op-eds.

A key part of their goal is to get journalists, who aren’t known for showing a keen interest in the business side of their publications or for engaging in advocacy themselves, to take an active role in defending the future of their jobs. In an interview, Stanton said they were “trying to educate the public and members of Congress and also start encouraging our colleagues to speak up.”

“Reporters are not generally super interested in speaking about their own problems and about things that affect them directly because they feel like it becomes a conflict of interest, and in certain ways that’s true,” Stanton said. “But when the future of the free press is being pretty seriously endangered by something, I think it’s incumbent upon us to stand up for ourselves.”

Like many reporters, Bassett said she had “never really had to pay attention to the financial side of journalism.”

But “after getting laid off, I started to become really interested in why all of these amazing news publishers were sort of going under, having to lay off staff, why we were losing local newspapers. It’s a tragedy, it’s really bad for democracy.”

Their effort comes at a time of increased scrutiny of the tech industry on the part of the federal government as well as Congress as public concern mounts over repeated privacy scandals, technology companies’ role in spreading misinformation, and their dominance over certain industries. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission reportedly made a deal to divide potential antitrust investigations between them; Apple and Google will fall under the purview of the DOJ, while the FTC took Facebook and Amazon. The House Judiciary Committee announced it would “conduct a top-to-bottom review of the market power held by giant tech platforms.”

The Save Journalism Project’s founders are hoping to steer the public conversation around the negative effects of Big Tech towards its impact on journalism.

Stanton, who lives in New Orleans, mentioned examples like that city’s local paper, the Times-Picayune, which laid off its entire staff last month. Around the country, Stanton said, “local reporters are so overtaxed. They’re doing as good a job as they can but there’s not enough of them.”

At the moment, Stanton and Bassett are more focused on warning the public and the industry about the issue than on proposing solutions.

“I do think that everyone is starting to see a need to break up and regulate these companies or something along those lines,” Bassett said. “And with regards to how they’re going to make journalism viable again, I don’t frankly know…I think right now we’re starting with just getting this conversation out into the public and making people aware of exactly what’s going on. I do hope at some point we graduate into saying, ‘here’s a list of policy proposals, here’s exactly what needs to happen.'”

Stanton and Bassett plan to interview elected officials, candidates and colleagues in the media about the industry’s crisis, and started with conducting on-camera interviews with Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Ruben Gallego. They plan to circulate a letter with which media companies can sign on to their cause. And their first official event will be at the annual Congressional Baseball Game, where they plan to distribute a physical newspaper laying out the problems on their agenda.

“The DC press corps is a really powerful constituency within our industry,” Stanton said. “If we can get our colleagues [there] to start talking about this it will help more broadly.”