USA Today Parent Company Faces Backlash With Dedicated Taylor Swift, Beyonce Reporter Roles: 'They've Been Downsizing Newsrooms For Years, But Of Course...'

Gannett-owned USA Today and The Tennessean‘s new openings for two journalists to solely cover music superstars Taylor Swift and Beyonce has created a heated debate about media priorities,  IBTimes reported 

Despite laying off 6% of its news division in December and a notorious reputation for downsizing newsrooms, Gannett aims to employ these new positions to “capture the excitement around Swift’s ongoing tour… while also providing thoughtful analysis of her music and career,” and similarly analyze Beyonce’s impact.

See Also: Taylor Swift Dethroned By Olivia Rodrigo On US Pop Radio Amid Feud Speculations: ‘Such A Poetic Revenge’

However, critics argue that the company’s strategy to recover profitability appears to involve laying off hundreds of reporters, destroying local news coverage, and then hiring a Taylor Swift reporter. The controversy is underscored by reporters like Brad Vidmar, the sole full-time news reporter at The Hawk Eye, a newspaper previously owned by Gannett, who expressed his disapproval on social media platform X.

“They’ve been downsizing newsrooms for years now, but of course, they need somebody dedicated to covering Taylor Swift,” he said.

Despite the backlash, Gannett’s chief communications officer, Lark-Marie Anton, insists that “these roles do not come at the expense of other jobs,” and points to the cultural and economic influence of artists like Swift and Beyonce as justification for the dedicated coverage.

The positions, while potentially offering new insights into popular culture, also come with a warning. The fan bases of both Swift and Beyonce are known to be highly defensive and the new reporters will also face the scrutiny of their professional peers.

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