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Media’s Hail Mary

Journalists may one day have a Saint among their ranks: the Roman Catholic church recently announced that the late Spanish journalist Manuel Lozano Garrido will be beatified this June, making him one step away from canonization. 

According to the Guardian’s John Hooper, the soon-to-be-blessed “joined Catholic Action as a boy and, in the Spanish civil war, secretly brought the eucharist to believers until he was arrested and jailed. After the war, he wrote for Ya, the now-defunct newspaper of the Spanish bishops’ conference and for two Catholic magazines, Telva and Vida Nueva. He founded a magazine for sick people and authored nine books.” Lozano Garrido’s beatification means that journalists so inclined will soon have a colleague to turn to in their times of need – that is, in addition to the Reformation-era French cleric Saint Francis de Sales, whose many writings trying to convert Protestants back to “the old faith” earned him the title “patron saint of journalists and writers.”

Even journalists of more secular inclinations have to rely on a little faith now and then to persevere in the media world, especially after a week of drastic budget and personnel cuts to major global news providers. The BBC announced Tuesday that it will cut funding for its website by 25 percent and scale back its magazine and publishing wings. Though the corporation’s management says the cuts have more to do with concerns over the BBC’s effect on privately-funded competition, the pruning could leave hundreds looking for new work after being let go from “Britain’s premier cultural institution.”

Closer to home, the ABC network made the stunning revelation that it plans to buy out or lay off a quarter of its news department staff, a massive reduction that will surely make it more difficult to keep up the level of coverage expected of a national news service. According to the LA Times, ABC will shed half its domestic correspondents and close all of its domestic bureaus except Washington, D.C., and will cope with the reduced manpower by “hiring freelance crews and making use of its expanded team of digital journalists, staffers who would be able to handle multiple tasks.” As Brian Stelter and Bill Carter argue in their New York Times article on the troubles at ABC and similar problems at CBS, network news is at a crossroads (something that anyone who’s turned on a TV in the past five years could tell you), but lets just hope the journalists of the future don’t rely too heavily on the benevolence of Saint Isidore of Seville, the patron saint of web surfers.


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