Several hundred BuzzFeed journalists laid off in 2019 have been hired to write code in a computer language developed in the 1960s as states struggle with a shortage of programmers during to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The states of New Jersey, Kansas, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Mississippi and Oklahoma have all hired former BuzzFeed reporters to make sure unemployment claims get processed in a timely manner.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said her state hired journalists because “their skillsets are optimal for helping the credulous unemployed boomer rube demo in flyover country.”
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said he hired journalists because labor unions said having volunteers do the work would violate state contracting-out laws.
Connecticut is also having difficulty with the large volume of unemployment claims, said Gov. Ned Lamont, “but the mere fact of having additional staff with the legendary empathy of journalists is a morale-booster for state workers.”
COBOL, which stands for Common Business Oriented Language, is a computer programming language that was developed in 1959.