Many journalists began the new year with a pink slip as a shockingly large number of layoffs in January have stunned the media industry.
The Los Angeles Times announced last week that at least 115 reporters would be let go, roughly 20% of its staff, making it the largest layoff in the paper’s history. This already followed a series of layoffs in the previous year with June cutting its workplace by 13%.
Media layoffs were not limited to the L.A. Times, and on the same day, TIME’s editorial union announced on social media that management was laying off several of its members.
LA TIMES GUILD SAYS PAPER’S LAYOFFS ‘DIDN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY,’ MINORITIES ‘DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED’
“Today, management laid off 15% of our unit members, with additional layoffs in edit and business. We are heartbroken and outraged for our colleagues who lost their jobs. We demand management uphold all terms and conditions laid out in our contract and we will fight back on these layoffs in any way we can,” TIME Union wrote.
It added, “For months, we have asked management for information about company finances. Management refused time and time again. We won’t stop pushing until we get honest answers. Journalists and the essential work they do should be TIME’s priority. We won’t stop fighting until we are.”
On Jan. 19, several Sports Illustrated staff members were let go after the Arena Group, which operates the Sports Illustrated brand and SI related properties, announced that Authentic Brands Group (ABG) had revoked its marketing license. Earlier reports suggested that nearly all the NewsGuild workers could have been affected, but one staff writer clarified that the “entire staff” was not fired.
CONDÉ NAST HONCHO ANNA WINTOUR FAILED TO REMOVE SIGNATURE SHADES WHILE LAYING OFF STAFF, IMPACTED WRITER SAYS
“The entire staff was not laid off. There still is a website and a magazine. That said: Ugly, brutal day with many layoffs,” Pat Forde wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
National Geographic journalists, however, were not as fortunate with all staff writers, 17 positions total, being let go as the paper makes a digital shift.
Business Insider and Forbes both announced layoffs on Thursday. Business Insider will be cutting approximately 8% of its workforce, while Forbes will lose 3% of its workers. The latter followed the beginning of a three-day walkout by Forbes union members, the first in the publication’s history.
The New York Daily News also saw staffers walk off the job to protest “chronic cuts ordered by the paper’s owner” on Thursday, according to the NewsGuild.
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Condé Nast staffers held a 24-hour strike to protest planned cuts, and the company also announced plans to reduce headcount and merge Pitchfork with GQ. Famed Condé Nast executive Anna Wintour failed to take off her signature dark sunglasses when she informed employees of Pitchfork they were all losing their jobs, according to one of the impacted staffers.
“One absolutely bizarro detail from this week is that Anna Wintour — seated indoors at a conference table — did not remove her sunglasses while she was telling us that we were about to get canned. The indecency we’ve seen from upper management this week is appalling,” Allison Hussey, a now-former Pitchfork employee, posted on X.
Beyond print media, NBC News also underwent layoffs earlier this month with 50 to 100 employees being let go across the division.
While 2024 has already seen several surprising media layoffs, 2023 was also a brutal year for many once towering news organizations. The Washington Post finished last year with roughly 240 staffers reportedly taking part in buyouts from the paper in an effort to prevent layoffs. Reports showed that the Post lost $100 million in the last year alone.
NPR and Vice Media also laid off workers in 2023.
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