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Widespread Media Staff Cuts?

Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 1:26 PM

In the news: Are recent staff cuts at several major publishers indicative of a trend?

Last week, Women's Wear Daily discussed industry-wide layoffs at a variety of publishers thus far in 2018. Kali Hays reports that, among others, the recent Hearst-Rodale acquisition has resulted in over 100 layoffs, some in the editorial department. Newsday and Vox are cutting roughly 50 staffers each. Hays reports that overall, according to recent Department of Labor statistics, the industry has seen over 3,000 layoffs since November.

Are the widespread cuts cause for concern? The layoffs affect both digital and print positions, so one can't unilaterally blame failed digital initiatives or declining print revenues. Some of the cuts are the result of a merger/acquisition, as with Hearst-Rodale. In the case of Berkshire Hathaway, whose media division Hays reports "is cutting 148 staffers and eliminating more than 100 unfilled jobs," changing trends toward online shopping have hurt ad revenue. So, at a glance, it appears that publishers in Q1 are course-correcting to address a variety of challenges. Read more about the recent industry layoffs here.

Also Notable

Print Circulation Still Strong

Print continues to drive revenue for many of the major magazine publishers. Beth Braverman of Folio.com discusses this in light of recent PricewaterhouseCoopers figures for 2016, during which print accounted for 87 percent of circulation revenue. Publishers have also tweaked publication schedules and pricing to maximize those print revenues. Read more here.

An "Unplugged" Digital Magazine Experience

A new magazine with a fresh concept has launched this month. The Disconnect is an online-only title that forces readers to disconnect from the internet before they can access the content. Readers access the website, and then they must shut off their WiFi. Once they've done so, writes Mathew Ingram of CJR.org, "the site instantly reveals itself, looking very much like a standard online magazine. There are short stories, essays ... and poems, as well as an editor's letter explaining the rationale behind the magazine." Read more about The Disconnect here.

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