Many media organizations are dealing with income shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s led to a lot of layoffs and furloughs. A few of these are at USA At this time mum or dad group Gannett, which introduced week-long rolling furloughs for reporters and editors in March. One of many currently-furloughed reporters is MMA Junkie’s John Morgan, however his furlough certain got here at a clumsy time, because it coincided with MMA star Jon Jones lastly giving him an interview that had been promised in February. In order that led to Morgan publishing the interview on his MMA Street Present Patreon web page (it may be learn totally free there). Right here’s Morgan’s tweet about this:
In a bizarre twist of COVID-19 influenced destiny, it occurred whereas I am furloughed from @MMAjunkie, so I can not publish it there. However you possibly can learn it on @Patreon, as a substitute: https://t.co/7hd4a7Tzbu pic.twitter.com/N69ipJpr3X
— John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) Might 22, 2020
The interview’s a notable learn for MMA followers, that includes Jones going off on UFC administration for not providing him a big assure to maneuver as much as heavyweight and battle Francis Ngannou, which he calls “the one riskiest battle within the UFC.” It additionally has Jones complaining that administration promised him earlier than that they’d give him larger offers if he moved as much as heavyweight, and claiming they’re now reneging on that. (It’s not just like the UFC has ever come below hearth for not doing what they are saying they’ll do.) However the much more attention-grabbing angle right here from the media aspect is that this interview coming to a furloughed reporter, who then put it up on his personal web site.
Whereas there is probably not many stay sports activities occurring in the mean time, there’s nonetheless a big demand for sports activities content material. And the heavy furloughs for sports activities media members aren’t essentially the wisest long-term technique. Claims like that of Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff that sports activities is an “editorial space the place short-term demand can be decrease” aren’t essentially holding up, as there’s been quite a lot of curiosity on the market in well-written items even with no stay sports activities, whether or not these are experiences on varied leagues’ plans to return or artistic seems to be again on the previous. A notable entry in that latter class is Chris Ballard’s ultimate Sports activities Illustrated piece, on historic operating determine Jim Fixx, which drew glorious visitors for SI:
The clicks and likes and feedback on this story… A few runner. Who so few individuals know—not an A (or Z) lister. Whose story is simply too nuanced to do justice in a tweet. Shock: individuals like good/distinctive/differentiated issues. High quality trumps amount, on daily basis, at all times. https://t.co/LC8usY5evO
— Adam Duerson (@adamduerson) Might 21, 2020
And lots of furloughed or laid off individuals are discovering methods to place out their very own content material and reap the rewards, whether or not that’s with an upcoming fiction e book from Banner Society writers or with the selection of impartial sports activities newsletters or with Patreon strikes like what Morgan did right here. And possibly that goes to indicate one thing bigger. Gannett determined they didn’t wish to pay Morgan to jot down for them this week, in order that they wound up lacking out on a superb unique that there’s quite a lot of curiosity in. Vox determined they didn’t wish to pay a number of of their Banner Society writers for 3 months, so these writers determined to go on to readers and bought quite a lot of assist for doing so. And several other of the newsletters appear to be doing okay, at the very least as a stopgap, which is spectacular given the general state of the world.
There appears to nonetheless be quite a lot of demand for good sports activities content material, and whereas monetizing that also carries challenges, it’s notable that there’s nonetheless curiosity in that content material even after employers have determined to furlough or lay off the individuals producing it. And that is definitely an period the place it’s extra potential than it was earlier than to make an influence outdoors an enormous company. And on this specific case, it’s good to see a outstanding athlete like Jones give an interview to a author even whereas that author is furloughed.
In fact, that doesn’t imply that each furloughed or laid-off author goes to have the ability to make it on their very own, and there are definitely some challenges to taking that path as effectively. Nevertheless it’s notable to see some huge stuff, like Morgan’s Jones interview, coming from individuals media companies have determined weren’t value using for some time. What these individuals are placing out continues to be beneficial to many readers, and this interview is the newest case of that.
[John Morgan on Patreon]