Hacks Off

It appears nobody wants to pay to run adverts alongside pieces denouncing all men as violent, racist, scumbags, much less pay to read them:


That someone in modern journalism should cite 10 years wittering on about gender politics and a PhD in romantic comedies as achievements explains a lot about why these redundancies are being made. Here’s another (via Rita Panahi):

Note that all these gender politics reporters insist on living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan, or other expensive liberal cities. Perhaps if they’d moved their operations to Colonsville, KY they’d feel less financially shafted? And I’m sure this helped:


While it’s poor form to mock those who’ve just been made redundant, I am not too concerned about these people. The only way to get a job in New York writing about gender politics is to have wealthy parents who can fund the lifestyle your salary won’t support. Indeed, full-time jobs in media companies filter out those who don’t have wealthy parents by first stipulating a period of unpaid internship. And who do you think paid for that PhD in romantic comedies? I doubt this lot have been financially independent in their lives, and getting booted from what is effectively a paid hobby won’t change that. Their egos might take a knock though, so spare a thought for them as you kneel to pray this evening.

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48 thoughts on “Hacks Off

  1. ” a huge and diverse rolodex,”

    What do you think the chances that diverse rolodex containing a single person from a non-coastal state. Hell, I kind of doubt it has anyone outside Brooklyn.

  2. An increasing proportion of the BBC online news output seems to be various diversity and gender politics guff so there’s jobs out for them yet. I object to that more than the equivalent at the Guardian or Independent (or Telegraph even these days) on a “who is paying and how much choice did they get” basis.

    Nevertheless I think what annoys me more is that there is lots of interesting stuff that could be written about the changing nature of society but what we get given tends to mix up activism and reportage, while also reporting on a very limited subset of change (mostly in liberal/cosmopolitan urban areas and from people who view going to university as “normal” rather than the minority pursuit it actually is). We hear much less about how “ordinary people” are getting along eg when small towns like Spalding, Wisbech and Boston were transformed in just a few years by the arrival of East European workers particularly in the food industry – schools with historically few minority students became 30-50% non English speaking very rapidly and with few resources or experience to deal with it. How did that work out? How were tensions resolved? Similarly various mill towns where there had been race riots in the early 2000s were briefly in the national conscience, particularly with the lack of integration and the separate lives of communities. But recent coverage of diversity has focused on more vibrant, trendy areas and industries – I have heard much more about racial diversity and inclusion in the media or big tech companies than how Bradford or Oldham have been getting along. Astonishing when they dominated headlines for months not so long ago, with an impression we would be hearing about them incessantly for a long time to come.

    I could make similar points about gender, sexuality and trans issues. There are some issues we hear disproportionately about the terms of importance or how common they are. Women in tech is a bit of a cause celebre yet there are many other industries with significant gender gaps we never hear about, and one of the things that would make a huge difference to gender inequality – the male/female gap in childcare and housework – rarely gets a lookin (we do get a few pieces about fathers who take parental leave but little on what happens after that, except for the small minority of cases where the man becomes a full time caregiver but which must make interesting copy, while the male housework issue gets close to zero coverage).

    The above might just reflect my personal prejudices and preoccupations of course. But there doesn’t seem to be much pretence that actual media output on these issues is ‘neutral’.

  3. Having a PhD in romantic comedies should give her confidence, though. Redundancy, yes, but after a bit of soul-searching, and some sleeping around, she will surely meet that really good-looking stockbroker or corporate lawyer who she used to criticise in her columns for being a serial womaniser. She’ll realise he is actually a really lovely person underneath, and they’ll fall in love and get married and live somewhere really smart but boho in New York while she raises his babies and returns to part-time journalism…

  4. These ‘alternative’ media outlets only survived because they succeeded in fooling a few VC people, who have no doubt lost patience with their bullshit and lack of revenue.

    I suspect there’s going to be a lot of unemployable ‘journalists’ floating around the job market in the next few years.

    There is actually quite a lot of demand for competent reporters – the newswires and agencies are hiring, so are any number of specialist/trade press. However they need people who can find things out and write them succinctly, not opinion-spewers who would be laughed off blogs such as these.

  5. @MC

    Are the newswires actually doing okay? Is their model sustainable?

    I know Tim Worstall reckoned the trade press was a good place to go if you wanted to get published. But local journalism, which also focuses more on finding and reporting facts than spewing out controversial clickbait opinions, has been having an absolutely torrid time.

  6. “White Teen boy harrasses a Native American Elder […] after his parents hire a PR firm to spin the incident”

    I think that will put this nice lady in the frame for the class action being raised.

  7. One would think Mz. Chloe could hit that rolodex and dial for dollars.

    (Rolodex? Really? Wonder if she has an abacus.)

    What she’ll find is most of those in that rolodex she thought were friends or good acquaintances will treat her like she’s contagious. Politics aside, they aren’t “friends” if they won’t help.

    And I’m certain blithering “I’m a laid off useless twat” to the world will do wonders.

    I’m with @sam vara. Women like these get to lean on the husband, or otherwise sink their hooks into some sap that will take care of them.

    I went through six rounds of layoffs at a huge company before they got to me. So I’m sort of a sociopath when it comes to these things. Normally, the first few rounds are useless deadwood.

    In my case, it was heartbreaking to see young dudes with wives and kids to support, that were smart, hardworking, and dedicated laid off in favor of useless twats and aged cronies. The company ended up merging, and extending it’s shit touch, contaminating the new entity and bringing it down for a while as well.

    I’ve no sympathy for these bitches, nor for anyone at the huffington post, which was named after a rich chick with a hobby.

  8. Their egos might take a knock though, so spare a thought for them as you kneel to pray this evening

    “O Lord, make my enemies look ridiculous.” Always one of the easier divine miracles to request

  9. Having a PhD in romantic comedies should give her confidence, though. Redundancy, yes, but after a bit of soul-searching, and some sleeping around, she will surely meet that really good-looking stockbroker or corporate lawyer who she used to criticise in her columns for being a serial womaniser.

    Hehehehehe

  10. “She will surely meet that really good-looking stockbroker or corporate lawyer…”

    …then divorce him and take him for all he has.

  11. I’m an atheist. It’s at times like these that I wonder if perhaps there is a God.

  12. Having a PhD in romantic comedies

    Someone found her thesis. She watched three whole movies, and argued that these three represented a new “postfeminist cycle” in the genre.

  13. @MBE – the newswires are certainly recruiting so I assume doing at least OK. The trade press is a somewhat polarised but the best titles are still doing well; it helps to have data and events in the mix.

    The only conventional journalising I do these days is for a specialist trade mag and they are still increasing subscriptions and even revenue from print ads, although they don’t expect that to last in the long-term.

    In my niche there have been 2 new launches in the past few months, an online magazine, which is a bit of a HuffPo – launched by a guy who used to work in the industry who fills it with people doing him favours/writing for self-promotion; and a digital newsletter which has original and aggregated content but is mainly intended to support an events/training business. However it employs a couple of hacks.

    That is just one tiny bit of the trade press world. There’s plenty of work for ‘content providers’ out there. Demand for ill-conceived hectoring from grievance studies graduates is likely to be weaker…

  14. @MC

    Interesting, cheers.

    In terms of conventional, general “news” (rather than specialist or trade stuff) I do wonder what the future is – for the fast-moving breaking stories, social media is often the place to go, but that doesn’t work so well for in-depth, investigative or more analytical pieces. On the other hand plenty of analysis is available for free in blogs and the like. And there doesn’t seem to be a firm distinction between analysis, thinkpiece, comment, and pure hectoring/propagandising.

  15. @MBE- By the way I have returned to work and also had a few fairly decent disagreements with the new MD and in front of others, the retirement plan has thus been reinvigorated. Four weeks leave can make you quite delusional.

  16. RE black teen boy getting shot wearing a hoodie: considering that he was probably shot by another black person it would be racist to make a big news story about it. You would think that someone who worked for HufPo would know that.

  17. “Note that all these gender politics reporters insist on living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan, or other expensive liberal cities. Perhaps if they’d moved their operations to Colonsville, KY they’d feel less financially shafted?”

    Yeah. This stuff is just crazy. Terrible business. Actually, just not a smart way to run things in your life.

    The “new” people out there who’ve grasped the internet have realised you can live in Colonsville, KY. Doug Stanhope lives in Bisbee, Arizona. Average price of a house is $98K. Average house price in LA is $680K. You can do a podcast from Bisbee. You can write material, books, manage a tour from Bisbee. It might mean doing a few more flights to do things, but the fact is that the cost of flights is pretty cheap now.

    I’ve commented on something I saw which was that the Guardian have jobs for app developers in their team in King’s Cross and this is simply madness. There’s some people a newspaper needs in London. Probably the editorial team, certainly some of the political and arts correspondents. But you can get apps built in Krakow. If you prefer somewhere closer and want somewhere with plenty of developers, you can have a team in Bristol, Leeds or Reading.

  18. Our back office is in the North East – IT, accounts, admin support.
    Very, very cheap. London workers all work remote and when they need to meet use one of the London hosting places.

    It’s really easy to do remote (Conf calls with Brussels, North East, Bristol and London is a lot easier to find space for in a diary than a physical, saves a heap of time and money.

    So why do these journals need expensive offices in expensive cities?

  19. Daniel Ream,

    “Someone found her thesis. She watched three whole movies, and argued that these three represented a new “postfeminist cycle” in the genre.”

    To be fair to her, she’s right. The problem to me is that this is a PhD in “well, duh” and “so what?”

    You can watch the Disney Princess movies and see how women’s roles have changed. Snow White and Cinderella clean the home and marry someone with a large house. Belle is still about a man with a large house, but now she wants a library and some sophistication. She’s more involved in the action. You get to Moana and Frozen and the romance is about gone and the girls are doing all the work.

    I’m sure I could write my PhD on that. But a) I’m sure others have made the same observation as it’s pretty obvious and out there and b) why bother. I can write a blog post. It’s not like anyone hires people because they have a PhD in film studies. It’s a vanity doctorate.

  20. Well, diddums. As Tim Worstalll always points out, this is Econ 101 – your simple demand/supply curves in action.

    Too many SJWs pushing the same boilerplate, demand for such boilerplate works out that it can get same boilerplate cheaper; crapulous, self-important SJWs providing expensive boilerplate get laid off.

    What’s not to understand here?

  21. To be fair to her, she’s right.

    She might be, but a data set consisting of three movies – especially in a field as rife with field data as the rom-com – would get laughed out of any undergrad term paper grading session, let alone a PhD

    You can watch the Disney Princess movies and see how women’s roles have changed.

    More accurately, you can see how the attempt by woke writers to subvert the conventions of the genre produces greater and greater cognitive dissonance until the film eventually undermines its own agenda. You can see this starting with Beauty and the Beast (Belle is a pretentious snob who gets kidnapped and develops Stockholm Syndrome) and culminating in Frozen (Anna is the villain).

  22. @Daniel Ream

    In qualitative research, small sample sizes are regarded as perfectly acceptable so long as no claims of statistical significance or generalisability are made. Autoethnographies inevitably have n=1, for example.

    This weekend I read a Masters thesis from a top-ranking Canadian university that was based on a queery theory critical analysis of a single youtube self-help video and came across, but did not read, a PhD thesis based on a 15-minute recording of a single conversation (in fact, this formed only part of a longer conversation, but the rest of the conversation was not used in the production of the thesis).

    Not saying this is a good thing but “would get laughed out of any undergrad term paper grading session, let alone a PhD” is simply incorrect – in many disciplines the insistence on larger sample sizes would be regarded as a restrictively positivist stance, and not all researchers are using that lens to view the world. The question of whether funding agencies should shovel cash at research that is intentionally non-generalisable and non-reproducible, and if so, why the taxpayer should be stumping up the cash, is an interesting one…

  23. @Hector- “ridiculous salaries being paid to these ‘journalists’”

    What kind of packages are we talking about?

  24. @MBE

    Cheers for that, you certainly have a very good inkling of my situation which is a credit to your perceptive ability.

  25. “So why do these journals need expensive offices in expensive cities?”

    Its not just journals. When I was contracting to DCMS I pointed out, repeatedly, that most of the people didn’t need to be in London and could be anywhere. A massive press office just read the papers, wrote briefs and sent out press releases, for example.

    I used to comment, they thought in jest, that when the revolution came they’d all be working in Grimsby and we’d turn the building (1 Horseguards/100 Parliament Street) in to a hotel.

  26. But what a wonderful opportunity for these ladies. Wal-Mart are so desperate for truck drivers they’re offering $90,000 pa.
    A relatively short training course and not only are they back in work but they will have helped diversity in the trucking business. Throw in the chance to travel round America and after a few years they might even have something worthwhile to write about.

  27. @Bloke on M4
    @Daniel Ream

    I also think you can learn a lot from Disney movies, but I don’t think Anna in Frozen (2013) is the villain, and I don’t think “the girls are doing all the heavy lifting” quite covers it. Anna is the protagonist. Clueless and bumbling, but still the protagonist. The key thing about Frozen is that it’s set up to have a Sleeping Beauty resolution, with True Love’s Kiss saving Anna, but the trope is inverted. Prince Charming (Hans) turns out to be a villain, and the sidekick (Kristoff) arrives too late. The sisters save each other.

    In Maleficent (2014) the process has advanced another step. The man Maleficent trusts betrays her at the outset, and cuts off her wings. Later on, Maleficent effectively gains a daughter without having a husband. The meat of the movie revolves around their relationship. Once again True Love’s Kiss is required to save the girl. A prince is introduced briefly – and he’s a pathetic figure, hardly more than a child. In the end, Maleficent kisses her daughter, and *this* proves to be True Love’s Kiss.

    In other words, male protagonists in Disney films are moving from superfluous to pathetic. And the villains – male, of course – are getting darker, too. Anna’s betrayal by Hans was a result of her foolishness in getting engaged to a man she had just met, and she gets criticized by Kristoff for this. But Maleficent was betrayed by a man she knew and loved, and who loved her.

    The Brothers Grimm warned children (and fathers) to beware stepmothers. Disney is teaching girls not to trust men.

  28. I got approached by a well-known defence publisher to edit one of their reference works, which was interesting; good bunch of guys, but the sticking point was that their head office was on the London outskirts and I’d have either had to move (and they weren’t paying enough for that to be a good idea) or been depending on South-West Trains to get me there and back, which wasn’t considered reliable enough. So, we parted amicably.

    They were happy with a fair bit of remote and distance working, but as editor when you were needed in the office you needed to be able to get there. (Partly because, often, they’d have staff from overseas coming in for meetings).

  29. @JL

    “Partly because, often, they’d have staff from overseas coming in for meetings”

    I do wonder how much could have been done via the wonders of the Internet, but can see this being a decent justification for at least some of the office not being located deep in the sticks.

  30. I also think you can learn a lot from Disney movies, but I don’t think Anna in Frozen (2013) is the villain

    Think of it as being told from Anna’s point of view (no one is ever a villain in their own mind), but every single bad thing that happens in that movie is a direct result of Anna placing her own impulsive, selfish desires over what’s good for the people around her. She also engages in a stereotypical pattern of domestic violence towards Kristoff (she routinely beats him and destroys his belongings, and then tries to buy him off)

    If you ignore the fact that it’s supposed to be a Disney movie, and forego granting the viewer-identification protagonist a pussy pass, that’s a movie about a selfish, borderline-sociopathic teenager destroying the lives of the people around her and getting away with it.

    Not that that’s what Pixar intended, nor are you wrong about the messages embedded in contemporary Disney films, but it’s worse than you realize.

  31. The Brothers Grimm warned children (and fathers) to beware stepmothers. Disney is teaching girls not to trust men.

    Why does this not surprise me?

  32. the sticking point was that their head office was on the London outskirt

    I’ve occasionally come across people trying to recruit me to do standard-grade engineering work in central London. When I tell them my expected salary they have a fit, and I say “what do you expect for a London-based job?” These idiots are competing with bankers, Russian oligarchs, Chinese billionaires, and companies hooked on the government teat for scarce resources and don’t realise why it’s so expensive for them. I once asked why they’re trying to do this work in central London and all I got was a pathetic “because this is where the project is based.” My guess has always been that a lot of the company or project head-honchos live in London because that’s where their wives want to live, and so the entire operation has to fit around junior’s schooling and madam’s shoe-shopping.

  33. Daniel Ream

    “but every single bad thing that happens in that movie is a direct result of Anna placing her own impulsive, selfish desires over what’s good for the people around her.”

    Spot on. She also reminds me painfully of a former GF……

  34. My guess has always been that a lot of the company or project head-honchos live in London because that’s where their wives want to live, and so the entire operation has to fit around junior’s schooling and madam’s shoe-shopping.

    When I was at what was to become Orange I was chatting to the HR Director about why he it was based in Bristol. He said that there’s loads of research about theories to do with qualified staff, customers, comms links etc, but the real reason is its usually where the CEO or his wife wants to be based. Orange’s first interim CEO before they were bought be Hutchison was from Rolls Royce in Bristol and didn’t want to move

    The Army had similar problems when they started moving functions out of London – wives of senior Royal Signals officers wanted to be posted to Glasgow when they moved Manning and Records there.

  35. Going back to the original topic, its quite sad watching those individual journalists touting there wares as if there’s a massive market for them and its just a case of being connected.

    As someone pointed out on Twitter, Walmart is recruiting truckers at $90k and they’ll be getting better pay, experience of the real world and some idea of the geography of the USA. It might even make them better journalists.

  36. @MyBurningEars,

    I’ll speak up for them since they were nice to me. They were certainly wise to remote & distance working – one of the interviews I did, was by web phone with one of their senior people who was based out in East Asia.

    However, when they did decide they needed face-to-face stuff (which they considered, not unreasonably, that Skype and other apps could only cover a part of), the more days of “hotel and expenses and a day’s pay at not a bad rate at all” they could avoid when bringing the internationals in, the better (and doing so, they wanted maximum assurance that everyone would be there)

    Plus, they’d seen their site go from “more like Home Counties, outside the worst of stupid London prices” to “it’s inside the M25 but not too bad” to “okay, it’s London now” – not by any conscious decision, just from London growing around them over a few decades.

  37. @Daniel Ream

    every single bad thing that happens in that movie is a direct result of Anna…

    But this is true for every film with a redemptive character arc.

    that’s a movie about a selfish, borderline-sociopathic teenager destroying the lives of the people around her and getting away with it.

    If she was a real person who consistently behaved like the character does in the first third of the film, then yes. But she’s a teenager in a children’s film. She starts out selfish and thoughtless because that’s how teenagers are, and the viewers need to identify with the main character.

    The question which needs to be asked is, does she change throughout the film? And she does. She acknowledges that Elza’s departure is her fault, and sets out to fix it. She recognizes Kristoff’s needs, and buys him what he can’t afford. She’s sorry his sled is destroyed, and promises to buy him a new one – a promise she keeps.

    It’s true she ruins her meeting with Elza, for exactly the reasons you gave, but she pays a heavy price for this, rather than getting away with it. Later, she comes to recognize the sacrifices made on her behalf by others (Olaf lighting a fire). When pressed to choose between running towards Kristoff, who might save her life, or running towards Elza, who is threatened by Hans, she chooses Elza. And despite the mutual attraction between Anna and Kristoff, she still takes things slowly with him – because she has learned her lesson.

    Sociopaths don’t behave like this. They blame everything on everyone else.

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