3,000 people have lost their jobs so far this year in a media landslide

Thousands of people in the media industry have lost their jobs through layoffs or buyouts in 2019.

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Thousands of people in the media industry have lost their jobs through layoffs or buyouts in 2019.
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Mike Blake/Michael Kovac/Lara O’Reilly/INSIDER

  • In the last month, layoffs hit have MAD Magazine, Pride Media, Quartz, and Meredith, bringing the total number of media layoffs in 2019 to over 3,000, according to Business Insider’s tally.
  • The latest cuts follow layoff announcements at BuzzFeed, Verizon, Vice Media, McClatchy, Machinima, and Gannett – the largest newspaper publisher in the US.
  • It is estimated that between 2014 and 2017, some 5,000 media jobs were cut from the market.
  • Read more stories like this on Business Insider.

The media industry continued to execute large cuts in June as MAD Magazine, Pride Media, and Meredith 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.


MAD Magazine: Around 10 jobs, July

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Amazon

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

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Ebony

The New 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

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The Newspicks app has been relaunched as a new app for Quartz.
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Quartz

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 to reports from Digiday. 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 to the 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

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Out Magazine

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.


Meredith: 60 jobs, June 7

The New York Post reported 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.”


GateHouse Media: At least 219 jobs, May and January

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GateHouse Media owns the most newspaper titles in the US.
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Leon Neal/Getty Images

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 were at 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 reportedly laid 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 later told Poynter that layoffs would only number around 10 people.


Reading Eagle: 6 jobs, May 23

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Local newspapers are facing a freeze.
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Photo credit should read STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP/Getty Images

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 was reported 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 to Deadline.

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 were laid 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

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Michael Seto

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

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Circa launched in 2012 as a news app.
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Circa

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

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Andrew Penner/Trans Canada Trail

In late March, the CWA Canada media union announced 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

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Shutterstock.com

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 newspaper announced 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 to Cleveland.com.

The 29 positions at stake are production jobs, which are being moved to a third-party factory that the paper is contracting. The additional 12 jobs are in the paper’s news department.


First Look Media: 9 jobs, March 13

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 Bloom told staffers that the company had decided to “focus on other editorial priorities” after mining the Snowden archive for five years, the Daily 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.”


New York Media: 32 jobs, March 11

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New York Magazine.
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New York magazine

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

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via Metro/Newseum

On March 7, Philadelphia’s Inquirer 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

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The Gateway Arch is seen as the flooding Mississippi River runs in front of it June 25, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri. Forecasters say the Mississippi River appears to have crested in the northern parts of Missouri and would by June 25 in southern parts of the state and in Illinois.
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Fourteen people took voluntary buyouts at the legendary St. Louis Dispatch in March, following the paper’s announcement in January that it would offer 15 buyouts and downsize offices.

In February, nine design, copy, and layout employees were laid off when the paper decided to outsource the work.

The Dispatch laid off five people in 2018 and had another round in 2015.


Canadian Living, Style at Home, Elle Canada: 28 staffers, February 19

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Elle magazine

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 to J-Source.


Machinima: 81 jobs, February 1

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.


Vice Media: 250 jobs, February 1

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Vice Media CEO Shane Smith.
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Reuters

The Hollywood Reporter first reported layoffs at Vice Media. According to the report, 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 Journal report in November that said the company would cut staff in part because of audience attrition over the past three years.


The McClatchy Co.: 450 jobs, February 1

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REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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 was first 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

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Thomson Reuters

In late January it was reported 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 were reportedly laid off in San Francisco.

The layoffs are in addition to the 10,400 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

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Thomson Reuters

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, but Poynter 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 as 400 people. In total, Gannett owns over 100 news entities.

The layoffs came after Alden Global Capital made a $1.3 billion hostile takeover bid to take control of the company, which it says it’s reviewing.


BuzzFeed: 200 people, January 23

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Jonah Peretti, the founder and CEO of BuzzFeed.
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Thomson Reuters

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 California were 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 memo published 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-house podcasting team and restructured its advertising group.


Condé Nast: 10 jobs, January 10

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Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour.
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Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Job cuts hit Condé Nast in January, quietly eliminating several positions across its properties.

Slate reported 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.

WWD reported cuts also hit editors at Glamour and junior staff at GQ magazine.

In 2018, multiple executives left the company ahead of an unspecified number of layoffs on its digital side.


The Dallas Morning News: 43 jobs, January 7

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Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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 would reduce 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.

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Alison Millington / Business Insider

The cuts represent a seismic shift in the media landscape. According to the Pew Research Center, a total of 5,000 media jobs left the market between 2014 and 2017, including growth in the digital sector.