Out of the Layoff Ashes: Issues & Insights

In the wake of layoffs of more than 1,000 journalists from BuzzFeed, Verizon Media Group (owner of outlets like HuffPost) and Gannett earlier this year, #LearntoCode became a controversial phrase tweeted at and about those who lost their jobs. One side argued it was harassment. Twitter took this view, suspending accounts of those using the…

Out of the Layoff Ashes: Issues & Insights

In the wake of layoffs of more than 1,000 journalists from BuzzFeed, Verizon Media Group (owner of outlets like HuffPost) and Gannett earlier this year, #LearntoCode became a controversial phrase tweeted at and about those who lost their jobs. One side argued it was harassment. Twitter took this view, suspending accounts of those using the slogan. Another side contended the phrase was a sardonic expression of just deserts for a class of professionals unsympathetic to the loss of jobs in industries like coal mining, thanks to clean energy ideals.
A month after these layoffs, Investor’s Business Daily quietly shuttered its own opinion section. This was the death stroke for an editorial team that had already suffered the loss of all but two staffers in 2016 when the conservative publication moved from a daily to a weekly print edition. Upon finding himself suddenly without a job, former IBD commentary and opinion deputy editor John Merline decided to learn to code, in a manner of speaking.
On April 22, Issues & Insights went live, staffed by several members of the team that for years wrote editorials for Investor’s Business Daily.
“Unlike other pundits and media celebrities, we do the hard work of reporting and researching stories before we offer our uncompromising viewpoints on them,” the site promises. “Our goal is to use our accumulated wisdom to help our readers better understand the events shaping the country.”
The team considers its efforts a service as well as a continuation of the work these journalists had always done. “There’s a hunger out there for more than Twitter snark,” Merline told me during an interview with most of the Issues & Insights editorial team. “So much of the discussion going is ill-informed. Among us, I think we have 100 years of journalism experience. Our approach is to bring that knowledge, perspective, and journalistic skills to the task at hand.”
The experience of the team is indeed deep. Prior to his eight years at IBD, Merline launched the opinion section of AOL News. He was also a member of the USA Today editorial board (where he still contributes).
Merline is joined by my former White House colleague and IBD veteran Thomas McArdle, whose journalistic pedigree includes a stint at CNN, managing editor of Human Events and national political reporter for industry lions Rowland Evans and Robert Novak. (Merline also interned for Evans and Novak.)
“The reportorial experience is important,” said McArdle. “A lot of the
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