The closure of La Opinión de Granada in print, which has left its staff in the street, is not, as many might think, just another casualty of a new crisis in the press.
The press has always had a crisis, but only for those who worked in it.
Now we are beginning to see more direct and loud reactions and support from the rest of the media. In Granada, even the workers of the public broadcaster RTVA placed a banner on their door in support of the dismissed workers with the slogan“NO al Cierre de la Opinión“(NO to the Closure of Opinion) and gathered for a while at the gates of the regional TV station. Meanwhile, in the rest of the Spanish cities where there were offices of this newspaper, there was a succession of rallies.
In addition, almost all the media reported the news of the closure throughout the day. Other groups mobilised to make their repulsion clear.
The “global” crisis, the one we were told came from the bowels of subprime mortgages, and the multiple domino crises affecting and toppling other trades have made talk of closures and layoffs something daily, natural and necessary.
But this has not always been the case. Among media personnel, even less so in local spheres where media companies with large staffs were being closed down or were being cut into small pieces, month after month, and at the most, a brief report was read that didn’t even seem to matter to the media outlet that published it.
Not so long ago, the discourse of many media workers was one of silence. Not a word inside the company and crying in the bar.
It was assumed that the profession “was like that” and the (covert) staffs were solved by means of interns, trainees, a pool of collaborators always in limbo and junk contracts, turning the kick in the ass into our monthly bread and butter.
I remember it perfectly well. It wasn’t so long ago, those were times when trying to strike the company for being a mad butcher of labour rights was little less than being a brainless martyr. An outdated idealist.
Precariousness and silence
Endless working days, hours that were never paid, forced and free “guards”, sackings, agency correspondents spread all over the provinces working “on the job” with no more contract than the promise of working the next day and waiting for those reports that were paid a little better to soften the always forced landing at the end of the month. Collaborations “at risk” in the hope that they would be wanted and paid on time. Miserable rates. False freelancers who are called “freelancers” to hide their cheekiness and disguise a supposed independence with more precariousness and abuses. And a long inventory of ugly exploitative customs turned into company laws.
We all knew it and we all threw it on our backs.
But it doesn’t matter what has provoked this new situation and reactions, even if it is a sad trigger, what is most annoying is that these things continue to explode in the asses of the workers instead of in the pockets of the butcher businessman who has been savagely butchering his workers for decades.
And at the same time throw down the gauntlet to the trade unions. Those who in the past have been shamefully silent, avoiding all noise, in the face of closures and mass layoffs in companies where they had no representation
Because the press has always been a wonderful profession but a shitty job. Where the exceptional thing is to have good working conditions. The situation has only come to put the nail in the coffin of a mire that was already too thick.