It’s because their own personal economies are not doing so well and are very precarious. From an article about the implosion of the NY Times’ sport desk (boldface mine):
There was a retirement party Sunday night for longtime San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist Bruce Jenkins, and after the stories and the drinks and the laughs and the next round of drinks, it was generally agreed by all that Jenkins was getting out at just past the right time. Then more drinks were ordered because the real celebration was not of a successful career coming to a satisfying and bloodless end, but of the fact that someone was running a tab…
Of course it will, if you keep in mind that the goal here is not broadened coverage but workforce reduction. When the sports departments shutter in service of a bottom line that is already sunk, they won’t create nearly the ripples of ESPN’s recent detonations, but they will result in mass firings from places that won’t be able to fall back on a $550 million turnkey sports desk.
And nobody will remember the business thugs who did today’s deed because they thrive in the anonymity of the best hitmen. They might remember some of the people they read and enjoyed and learned from, but that’s not what a newspaper is anymore. It’s just another way to explain late-stage capitalism: eating the people who do the work and replacing them with fewer and cheaper ones. Retirees from this industry no longer have the choice of “just in time,” but only varying stages of too late.
Obviously, this isn’t the only explanation, but it’s hard to have good vibes about ‘the economy’ when your personal economy isn’t looking good.