More than 2,700 people lost their jobs in a media landslide so far this year

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Mike Blake/Michael Kovac/Lara O’Reilly/INSIDER

  • In May, CNN announced that 100 employees took voluntary buyouts amid debt restructuring by parent company AT&T. That brought the number of media jobs eliminated in 2019 to over 2,700 along with other layoffs the same month.
  • The cuts follow layoff announcements at BuzzFeed, Verizon, Vice Media, McClatchy company, 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.

The media industry continued to announce large cuts in May, as CNN announced that 100 employees had taken voluntary buyouts amid its parent company AT&T’s efforts to restructure billions of dollars in debt. The announcement followed large rounds of layoffs earlier in the year from companies like 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 lost so far in 2019 »


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 reportedly 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 competitor 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 website. 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 staffers, 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 (comprised of Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion), the company reportedly laid off 25 people, or 6% of its staff, in late April.

The cuts included top editors and veteran reporters.

Spanfeller said that despite the cuts, he plans 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.


Red Deer Advocate: 25 jobs, March 26

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View from the High Rockies Trail in Alberta
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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 Ltd., had laid off 26 staffers across the news and mail room.

Along with the cuts, Black Press Group announced that 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 just 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 potential refocusing on aggregation for the brand which 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, Ohio’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 via 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 jobs 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 Edward Snowden archive was also shut down with the layoffs.

First Look Media CEO Michael Bloom reportedly told staffers that the company had decided to “focus on other editorial priorities” after mining the Snowden archive for five years.

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,” according to The Daily Beast.


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 Monday, 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 of 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, and this year, its staff formed a union.


Metro: 3 jobs, March 7

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via Metro/Newseum

On March 7, Philadelphia’s The 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 reportedly also layoffs.

The team was told the news over the phone from a new executive team in New York, and were reportedly shell-shocked, according to The Inquirer.

The paper will reportedly re-focus on building readership among train and bus riders in the city.


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.

In a statement, 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,” said a spokesperson to 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 2018.


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 early Friday. According to the report, the Brooklyn-based media company will cut approximately 250 jobs across the company in the coming week, 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 reportedly refocus around its TV production unit, its international news team, it’s 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 due in part to audience attrition over the last three years.


The McClatchy Company: 450 jobs, February 1

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An employee passes newspaper fronts of McClatchy Co. owned newspapers in their Washington office July 24, 2008.
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REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

On Friday, February 1, The McClatchy Company, 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.

The news followed McClathy’s failed attempt to buy the Tribune Publishing company in 2018.


GateHouse Media: at least 60 jobs, since January 30

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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 US, has been quietly laying off journalists across the country since the end of January. Business Insider has confirmed at least 60 layoffs.

The layoffs have largely focused on local sports coverage and photographers, some of who have worked at their papers for over thirty years, but workers across the newsroom and beyond have been cut.

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.

Since the late-January acquisition, at least 50 other jobs have been claimed at at least 15 other publications.

GateHouse is known for its corporate strategy of buying up local papers to digitize them, and making quick cuts.

GateHouse has not responded for comment or made any official announcements about the layoffs.


Verizon (Yahoo, AOL, HuffPost): 800 jobs, January 23

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Verizon’s cuts affected staff across numerous publications.
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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,” said Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media, 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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The corporate flags for the Gannett and its flagship newspaper, USA Today, outside headquarters in McLean, Virginia
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Thomson Reuters

Newspaper giant Gannett reportedly laid off journalists across the country 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, Founder and CEO, Buzzfeed, speaks at the Wall Street Journal Digital Conference in Laguna Beach, California.
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Thomson Reuters

BuzzFeed announced last Wednesday it would lay off approximately 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 the BuzzFeed 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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Conde Nast Artistic Director Anna Wintour speaks at the Conde Nast Celebrates Editorial Excellence: Toast To Editors, Writers And Contributors on April 22, 2013 in New York City.
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Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Job cuts hit Condé Nast in January, which quietly eliminated 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.


It’s estimated that between 2014 and 2017, some 5,000 journalism jobs disappeared from the market.

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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.