- In the last month, layoffs have hit Spin, ThinkProgress, Rooster Teeth, and others, bringing the total number of media layoffs in 2019 to over 7,200, according to Business Insider’s tally.
- The latest cuts follow layoff announcements at BuzzFeed, Verizon, Vice Media, McClatchy, Disney, and Gannett — the largest newspaper publisher in the US.
- For comparison, it’s estimated that between 2014 and 2017, some 5,000 media jobs were cut from the market.
The media industry continued to execute cuts in August and September as Spin, ThinkProgress, Rooster Teeth, Disney, and others reduced headcounts.
The cuts followed large rounds of layoffs earlier in the year from companies including BuzzFeed, Verizon, and Vice Media.
The massive cuts so far this year represent a recent trend in media that has seen upstart companies and newspapers alike shrinking and disappearing.
Here are the media jobs that have been lost so far in 2019.
Spin Media Group: 7 jobs; September 16
Valence Media cut seven positions at Spin Media Group on Monday, September 16, according toBillboard.
The cuts affected employees at music publications Spin, Stereogum, and Vibe. Valence is owned by the Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, which employs over 4oo people.
The group bought SpinMedia in 2016, “establishing the world’s largest music brand by digital traffic, social reach, and audience share,” according to a press release fromSpin.
In 2013, SpinMedialaid off around 30 people, then 15% of its workforce.
Pacific Standard: 45 jobs; August 16
In early August, Pacific Standard’s editor in chief, Nicholas Jackson, announced that the online publication covering the Western US would shut down on August 16, affecting 20 full-time employees, 25 contractors, and a stable of freelancers,according to The Los Angeles Times.
The magazine was founded by academic publisher Sara Miller McCune who started Sage publishing.
According to Pacific Standard’s board president Clive Parry, the decision to shutter the magazine came after Sage decided to reduce its funds for charitable giving.
Rooster Teeth: 50 jobs; September 12
Rooster Teeth, an online media veteran that’s lasted 16 years,announced its first-ever round of layoffs in September, saying it would cut 13% of its workforce, or around 50 people.
“As we looked ahead at all of our upcoming opportunities and challenges, we had to make some difficult decisions about how we are organized,” CEO Matt Hullum said in a memo Variety obtained.
The company primarily makes videos and is best known for its “Red vs. Blue” series, which is thelongest-running web series.
Rooster Teeth is part of Otter Media, the sci-fi and gaming division of WarnerMedia.
Otter Media cut 10% of its staff last year in layoffs that didn’t affect Rooster Teeth.
ThinkProgress: 12 jobs; September 6
Progressive news and opinion site ThinkProgress, a project of the liberal think tank The Center For American Progress,announced that it would shut down September 6 and lay off its 12-member staff.
The site, which has been for sale since July, said in a statement:”We are very sad to announce that after more than two months of searching, we have been unable to identify a new publisher for ThinkProgress, and we are left with no choice but to close ThinkProgress as an independent enterprise focused on original reporting.”
The Center For American Progress faced criticism for its decision to shutter the site, with its former writer Matthew Yglesiastweeting, “‘I want you to do accurate, well-reported, well-written stories about Republican Party politicians doing bad things’ would be a perfectly reasonable thing to spend money on.”
Kiplinger’s: 11 jobs; September 6
Personal finance publication Kiplinger’s laid off 11 people in early September after being sold earlier this year. According toTalkingBizNews, a company spokesperson said the layoffs affected numerous teams to lessen impact. Cuts included writers, editors, copy editors, fact-checkers, administrators, and artists.
Kiplinger’s said the cuts accompanied a new strategy that consolidated certain departments and streamlined workflow.
In a statement, the company said: “The new editorial structure and content strategy is intended to be faster, more efficient, and more responsive, and will leverage increased collaboration among the team of experienced and expert editors and writers across all our publications, digital and print.”
Cox Media Group: 87 jobs; August 29
The owner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitutionannounced a plan to layoff around 87 people in early September but said that the cuts would not affect the company’s flagship publication and would only affect managers.
Cox owns a set of TV and radio stations along with the AJC. Ownership of some of the TV and radio stations was sold to another company that will retain the Cox name, but AJC ownership remained the same.
Vice Media: 265 jobs, August 29 and February 1
The Hollywood Reporterfirst reported the Brooklyn-based media company will cut about 250 jobs across the company, with the aim of trimming down and helping the organization become profitable.
“Having finalized the 2019 budget, our focus shifts to executing our goals and hitting our marks,” CEO Nancy Dubuc wrote in an email to staff.
Vice Media will refocus around its TV production unit, its international news team, its digital properties, and its original TV content.
Staff members in the US who are unionized are set to receive payouts of their accumulated paid time off, 10 weeks of severance, and medical benefits.
The cuts were previewed in a Wall Street Journalreport in November 2018 that said thecompany would cut staff in part because of audience attrition over the past three years.
Later, in August, The Wall Street Journalreported 15 more cuts at Vice’s TV channel Viceland. The cuts, which hit across departments at the channel, were meant to focus the channel towards news content instead of lifestyle or other programming.
Game Informer: At least 7 jobs; August 20
Video game retailer GameStop’s Game Informer magazine laid off at least seven staffers as part of larger layoffs that affected the struggling company.
Seven editors took to Twitter to announce that they had been let go of the company, which had a total masthead of 19, according toKotaku.
“While these changes are difficult, they were necessary to reduce costs and better align the organization with our efforts to optimize the business to meet our future objectives and success factors,” Gamestop toldKotaku.
Disney: 4,000 jobs; Ongoing
Following Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the company began layoffs that were expected to eventually claim at least 4,000 jobs, many of which the company says are meant to eliminate redundancies. The layoffs will affect both Disney and Fox employees, and have already begun.
Executives at Fox were the first to get the chop, ahead of ad-sales employees at Fox Networks Group, according toThe Wrap.
National Geographic was next, which cut around 60 employees from multiple departments.
And layoffs havecontinued to roll through Fox’s film and TV divisions.
Rewire.News: 5 jobs; July and May
Rewire.News, a non-profit publication devoted to evidence-based reporting on social justice issues, haslaid off five reporters over the course of 2019. In May, they laid off their Appalachia-specific reporter, and in July four union members were told that they would lose their jobs in September.
According to the Rewire.News union, the cuts will leave the publication with no full-time reporters.
Bustle Digital Group, Gawker: 4 jobs; July 30
Bustle Digital Groupshut down its controversial attempt to relaunch Gawker in July after the acquisition ofInverse and reported troubles finding staff for the site.
Four people were laid off, including editor-in-chief Dan Peres, writer Nate Hopper, editorial director Carson Griffith, and sales VP Amanda Hale, The New York Post reported.
The Gawker relaunch faced trouble from the beginning, with Gizmodo’s Splinter causing chaos after it dug up unsavory tweets of Griffith’s shortly after the old property’s new staff announcement. Shortly after, Gawker’s two writersleft, alleging that BDG refused to take action over offensive comments Griffith made in the Gawker office.
After the controversy, Peres was hired to take charge of the publication butreportedly faced trouble recruiting, according to The New York Post.
CTV: 11 jobs; July 24
As part of a larger restructuring announced by Canadian broadcaster CTV, 11 people were laid off in Vancouver, according toVancouver Media News & Views, with more expected to come in other cities.
The layoffs were initially announced company-wide in May and included Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, according toThe Star.
The reorganization is supposed to focus more resources on digital content.
Howard Law, the media director for the labor union Unifor, told Business Insider that Vancouver was one of three local CTV stations not represented by the union. He estimated that further cuts could number between 50 and 200.
Law said the restructuring was largely due to technological innovations that will allow CTV to reduce the number of editors it uses, and lost ad revenue to online platforms.
Inverse: 5 jobs; July 23
On June 23, five layoffs accompanied the acquisition of Inverse by Bustle Digital Group. Inverse is a small science and technology publication founded by Dave Nemetz, who cofounded Bleacher Report with Bustle’s Bryan Goldberg. Josh Topolsky of The Outline, which was also recently acquired by Bustle, has been tasked with overseeing Inverse under the company.
Inverseconfirmed to Business Insider that two editorial employees and three others were laid off the day of the acquisition.
In the digital media ecosystem, Bustle has gained a reputation for acquiring struggling media companies or brands — recently acquiring Nylon, Mic, The Outline, Inverse, and Gawker.
Entrepreneur: 4 jobs; July 18
Entrepreneur magazine laid off four editorial staffers in mid-June, according toTalking Biz News. The company framed the layoffs as part of a restructuring toward digital content.
“We’re restructuring our digital offerings, with the goal of developing new products that are even more useful for entrepreneurs,” the company said.
MAD Magazine: Around 10 jobs; July
MAD Magazine laid off around 10 staffers, according to one estimate given to INSIDER by someone close to the situation, amid news that the magazine would cease the production of original content.
Issue 10 will reportedly be the magazine’s last issue including new material. The magazine will continue to honor existing subscriptions with issues featuring new covers and recycled material.
It’s estimated that hundreds of freelancers will be affected.
Editors Casey Boyd and Dan Telfer were both affected by the layoffs, among other employees.
Jet and Ebony: 15 jobs; June and May
TheNew York Post reported that at least 15 people were laid off at African-American focused magazines Jet and Ebony.
In May, seven staffers were laid off when parent-company Clear View Group told Ebony staffers that the print edition of the magazine was being suspended, according to the Post.
In June, eight Jet staffers were laid off shortly after Clear View Group told Jet employees that they couldn’t pay them for the last pay period in May, according to the Post.
Quartz: 11 jobs; June and January
Quartz, a publication that’s focused on data-driven global coverage, laid off four employees in the UK in January and seven employees in June, according toreports fromDigiday. The cuts were composed of business-side employees and members of the company’s commercial team.
According to Digiday, Quartz is attempting to pivot its business model from making custom commercial content for clients to a subscription-based model.
Quartz’s total headcount is reportedly down to 235 from 243 in January.
In July 2018, Quartz was acquired by Japanese media startup Uzabase, and was tasked with handling the company’s mobile English-language business subscription service, according tothe AP.
Quartz has had traffic struggles according to Comscore, whose data indicates a 50% dropoff in visitors following the publication’s acquisition, Digiday reported.
Pride Media and Out Magazine: 10 jobs; June and February
In June, during LGBT pride month,WWD reported that five employees at LGBT media group Pride Media were laid off after a year of drama surrounding payment and funding at the company. The cuts reportedly hit corporate Pride Media staff and Out Magazine editorial staffers.
Five other staffers at Out were reportedly cut in February.
The company, and Out Magazine in particular, had been facing criticism from its journalists who said they hadn’t been paid for months.
Just days before the layoffs, Pride Media had received a cash injection from investors after months of promises,Vice News reported.
The Youngstown Vindicator: 144 jobs; June 28
The Youngstown Vindicator, a legendary Ohio daily that served an area with over 500,000 people, announced in June that it would shutter in August, eliminating 144 full-time jobs, according to thePhiladelphia Inquirer. Days before the announcement, the publication celebrated its 150-year birthday.
In anarticle, The Vindicator’s publisher and general manager wrote, “Due to great financial hardships, we spent the last year searching for a buyer to continue to operate The Vindicator and preserve as many jobs as possible while maintaining the paper’s voice in the community. That search has been unsuccessful.”
Meredith: 60 jobs, June 7
The New York Postreported that magazine giant Meredith laid off around 1% of its workforce, 60 employees, in early June months after acquiring Time Inc.
The cuts were primarily at Entertainment Weekly and Traditional Home.
In September, the company laid off 200 people from a variety of lifestyle publications.
A Meredith spokesman told the Post that the cuts came amid “a lot of competition internally for ad dollars.”
First Look Media: 15 jobs, June and March
On March 13, First Look Media — the parent company of Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept and Laura Poitras’ Field of Vision — laid off seven staff members and two contractors (4% of the group) across the company.
Three of those laid off were tasked with maintaining and securing the company’s archive of materials leaked to Greenwald and Poitras by Edward Snowden. The Snowden archive was also shut down with the layoffs.
First Look Media CEO Michael Bloomtold staffers that the company had decided to “focus on other editorial priorities” after mining the Snowden archive for five years, theDaily Beast reported.
Bloom continued: “It is our hope that Glenn and Laura are able to find a new partner — such as an academic institution or research facility — that will continue to report on and publish the documents in the archive consistent with the public interest.”
In June, First Look Mediaannounced that it would lay off six staffers, shutter its Topic magazine, and defund its comics publication The Nib.
GateHouse Media: At least 219 jobs, May and January
GateHouse Media, one of the largest local newspaper publishers in the United States, quietly laid off journalists in multiple large rounds throughout the year.
Business Insider confirmed there wereat least 60 layoffs at various local newspapers owned by the company at the end of January. The layoffs focused on local sports reporters and photographers, some of whom had worked at their papers for over 30 years.
At the end of May, GateHouse reportedlylaid off at least an additional 159 people at newspapers across the country, including reporters, editors, and other staff.
The cuts seemingly began after the $30 million acquisition of Schurz Communications Inc., which immediately resulted in 11 cut jobs at three publications in Maine and Indiana.
After first-quarter losses, other cuts began in May. When Business Insider inquired about the cuts, New Media CEO Mike Reed called them “immaterial.” He latertold Poynter that layoffs would only number around 10 people.
Reading Eagle: 6 jobs, May 23
Pennsylvania’s regional daily newspaper the Reading Eagle announced that it was filing for bankruptcy in May 2019.
The same month, MNG Enterprises said that it would buy the paper and issued a warning that it could lay off all 221 employees, according to a state labor filing cited by The New York Post.
Later, however, a representative of the firm handling the sale of the company, Dirks, Van Essen, Murray & April, said, “We don’t know how many people will be retained.”
So far, only 6 people have fine laid off.
CNN: 100 jobs, May 6
On May 6 it wasreported that more than 100 employees at CNN took buyouts amid corporate restructuring efforts. The buyouts were offered to employees who had hit retirement age, with four weeks of pay for every year of service — potentially providing two years’ worth of pay total, according toDeadline.
A CNN representative told Deadline that the buyouts were explicitly not related to layoffs, but the move comes as AT&T — which owns CNN — attempts to restructure billions in debt.
New Orleans Times-Picayune: 161 jobs, May 2
In May, New Orleans’ Times-Picayune was acquired by one of its competitors, The Advocate. All 161 employees of the Times-Picayune werelaid off.
The Times-Picayune had long been the city’s paper of record and had won numerous Pulitzer Prize awards for its reporting on Hurricane Katrina.
In 2012, the paper reduced its publication days to three days a week and put focus on its NOLA.com site. In 2013, the paper resumed daily publishing, but only after The Advocate swooped in and began publishing the New Orleans addition that would prove to be fatal competition for the paper.
G/O Media: 25 jobs, April 30
Despite G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller claiming he didn’t anticipate layoffs after he joined the new conglomerate (which comprises Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion), the company laid off 25 people, or 6% of its staff, in late April,Variety reported. The cuts included top editors and veteran reporters.
Spanfeller said that despite the cuts he planned to hire above the original headcount by the end of 2019. In May, there were only five postings on Gizmodo Media Group’s job site.
Circa News: 16 jobs, March 26
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Circa News shuttered on March 26, 2019, with the company citing challenges facing small publishers.
“While we see new business opportunities with digital video and OTT, they do not require the daily publishing of a website,” Sinclair told The Washington Post.
Sinclair told the publication that 16 employees would be laid off, and 22 would be integrated into Sinclair’s news team.
Circa started as a news app in 2012 and was shut down in 2015 after failing to find a large user base. Sinclair bought and relaunched the property later that year.
Red Deer Advocate: 25 jobs, March 26
In late March, the CWA Canada media unionannounced that Alberta’s local Red Deer Advocate, owned by Black Press Group, had laid off 26 staffers across the news and mail room.
Along with the cuts, Black Press announced it was shutting down the paper’s weekly edition.
Digg: 2 jobs, March 26
Former tech legend turned new media company Digg.com laid off two editors in March, shrinking the number of employees to 10.
The staffers affected were the managing editor and the features editor, both of whom wrote and edited original content on the primarily aggregated site, indicating a refocusing on aggregation for the brand that in the last few years had branched out to publishing original writing and video.
The layoffs follow the sale of Digg in 2018 to ad-tech company BuySellAds, which cleaved off nearly half of the company.
In a statement to Business Insider, BuySellAds CEO said: “This does not mark the end of original content at Digg, nor does it hint at a major change in direction or strategy. We continue to believe in the publication just as much as the day we acquired it.”
The Plain Dealer: 41 jobs, March 15
Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer newspaperannounced on March 15 that it would lay off 12 newsroom employees in addition to 29 previously announced layoffs scheduled for May. Editor George Rodrigue told union members by email that “since around 2001 newspaper advertising revenue has been plummeting.”
The union has asked for the paper to wait until after an upcoming subscription drive to make the cuts and has vowed to fight them.
“This is a catastrophe for Cleveland and for local journalism,” Guild unit chairman Ginger Christ said, according toCleveland.com.
The 29 positions at stake are production jobs, which are being moved to a third-party factory that the paper is contracting. Theadditional 12 jobs are in the paper’s news department.
New York Media: 32 jobs, March 11
New York Media, the family-held owner of New York Magazine, Vulture, and other properties,laid off 32 employees on March 11 as part of a restructuring. The cuts affected 16 full-time employees and 16 freelance or part-time workers, according to a statement from the company.
“The departments most especially affected include audience development/circulation, copy, fact, production, and video,” the company said.
In November, the company announced that all its online content would go behind a paywall, which it said was part of the reason for the cuts.
“In some cases, the changes we are making reflect a need for new focus as we build out our digital subscription business; in others, they reflect an overdue integration of print and digital staff,” read the statement.
Last year the company said it was considering a sale; this year its staff formed a union.
Metro: 3 jobs, March 7
On March 7, Philadelphia’sInquirer reported that three staffers in Philadelphia had been laid off from the free tabloid Metro, which also publishes in New York City and Boston, where there were also layoffs.
The team was told the news over the phone from a new executive team in New York, and were shell-shocked, according to The Inquirer. The paper is said to be refocusing on building readership among train and bus riders in the city.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 23 jobs, March 4
Fourteen peopletook voluntary buyouts at the legendary St. Louis Dispatch in March, following the paper’s announcement in January that it would offer 15 buyouts anddownsize offices.
In February, nine design, copy, and layout employees werelaid off when the paper decided to outsource the work.
The Dispatchlaid off five people in 2018 and had another round in 2015.
Canadian Living, Style at Home, Elle Canada: 28 staffers, February 19
On February 19, Canadian Living, Style at Home, and Elle Canada magazines, owned by Groupe TVA, cut as many as 28 staffers.
According to an email from the company’s VP of communications to J-Source, the company will move the headquarters of Canadian Living and Style at Home from Toronto to Montreal as part of the restructuring.
The company said: “In the context of the magazine industry undergoing numerous worldwide changes, TVA Publications had to reconfigure its internal structure. This decision will allow TVA Publications to continue to offer its readers and its advertisers high-quality brands that perform well in Canada.”
Canadian Living and Style at Home were acquired in 2014 by Groupe TVA, which also owns Les Publications Transcontinental-Hearst Inc. — the owner of Elle Canada and Elle Quebec, according toJ-Source.
Machinima: 81 jobs, February 1
Machinima, what used to be one of the largest video producers online, announced that it was closing in statements to news outlets February 1.
“Machinima has ceased its remaining operations, which includes layoffs,” a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter, announcing that 81 jobs had been cut.
The company, which made gaming content for YouTube, was bought by WarnerMedia and housed under Otter Media in 2016 but stopped publishing material in January.
Otter Media announced that it had cut 10% of staff in December.
The McClatchy Co.: 450 jobs, February 1
On February 1, The McClatchy Co., which owns properties such as the Miami Herald and the Kansas City Star, emailed staffers to announce that 450 employees would be offered voluntary buyouts as part of a “functional realignment,” essentially signaling that the jobs have been marked out of the budget.
The news wasfirst reported by the Miami New Times. It followed McClatchy’s failed attempt to buy Tribune Publishing in 2018.
Verizon (Yahoo, AOL, HuffPost): 800 jobs, January 23
In late January it wasreported that Verizon would cut 7% of its staff at its media companies (an estimated 800 people), which include Yahoo, AOL, and The Huffington Post.
“These were difficult decisions, and we will ensure that our colleagues are treated with respect and fairness, and given the support they need,” Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media, said in a memo to staff.
It’s estimated that 20 employees were laid off at HuffPost last Thursday, including opinion writers, political reporters, and others. Nearly 100 corporate Verizon employees werereportedly laid off in San Francisco.
The layoffs are in addition to the10,400 employees that Verizon is looking to shed by the middle of 2019 as part of a buyout program announced in December.
Gannett: 400 jobs, January 23
Newspaper giant Gannett reportedly laid off journalists across the US the same day that Verizon’s layoffs were reported, following a round of voluntary buyouts.
Gannett has been quiet about the layoffs, butPoynter reported on cuts that affected editors and senior journalists at local papers owned by Gannett in regions across the US. The New York Post reports that cuts affected as many as400 people. In total, Gannett ownsover 100 news entities.
The layoffs came after Alden Global Capital made a $1.3 billionhostile takeover bid to take control of the company, which it says it’s reviewing.
BuzzFeed: 200 people, January 23
BuzzFeed announced last Wednesday it would lay off about 220 employees, slashing jobs in its news, LGBTQ, international, and other divisions.
The layoffs ruffled feathers among media watchers when employees working outside of Californiawere not offered payouts for their accrued paid time off, a decision that was eventually reversed after BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti met with staff council and was called out on the publisher’s own streaming show, AM2DM.
Laid-off BuzzFeed employees also received a notable amount of harassment from trolls online,NBC News reported.
In a memopublished by Digiday on Tuesday, Peretti said the company would refocus its efforts on BuzzFeed Originals (home to quizzes and viral videos), commerce content, branded content, and branded production and publishing.
In 2018, BuzzFeed laid off its in-housepodcasting team and restructured itsadvertising group.
Condé Nast: 10 jobs, January 10
Job cuts hit Condé Nast in January, quietly eliminating several positions across its properties.
Slatereported that on January 10, the day Condé Nast’s Wired magazine moved onto a new floor of One World Trade Center, five employees were let go. In November, Wired cut five staffers devoted to its Snapchat channel.
WWDreported cuts also hit editors at Glamour and junior staff at GQ magazine.
In 2018, multiple executivesleft the company ahead of anunspecified number of layoffs on its digital side.
The Dallas Morning News: 43 jobs, January 7
The Dallas Morning News eliminated 43 jobs,according to the Columbia Journalism Review, half of them in the newsroom, on January 7. The cuts affected journalists who covered immigration, transportation, the environment, and the courts.
In a letter, publisher Grant Moise said the cuts wouldreduce costs and begin a refocusing of the paper. Moise said the editorial and opinion section would be merged, and arts coverage would be reduced.
For context, it’s estimated that 5,000 journalism jobs disappeared between 2014 and 2017.
The cuts represent a seismic shift in the media landscape. According to thePew Research Center, a total of 5,000 media jobs left the market between 2014 and 2017, including growth in the digital sector.
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