CUTS KEEP COMING: Layoffs in the media world continued to flow Thursday when Newsweek, as expected, joined the crowd.
“The sad moment has arrived when we must go forth with the editorial staff reductions,” Tina Brown told the staff of Newsweek and the Daily Beast in a memo.
This story first appeared in the December 7, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The cuts are necessary to lower overhead costs as Newsweek eliminates its print edition and moves to an all-digital format. The number of total layoffs wasn’t available — a spokesman declined comment — but at least three editors left on their own, Capital New York first reported.
This week, as many magazines got ready for their holiday parties, it was already looking grim. The Daily ended its run, putting in jeopardy 100 positions, and The New York Times asked for 30 buyouts from senior managers; reportedly, 30 more had already been cut on the business side.
These reductions follow a series made in the second half at The Daily, where 50 people — a third of the staff — were cut in August. Then came 60 at Condé Nast, across all titles. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia cut 70 staffers at its two magazines, Whole Living and Everyday Food.
Hearst Magazines axed a number of positions as it consolidated the editorial staffs of Elle Decor, House Beautiful and Veranda. All the layoffs at the shelter magazines — less than 10 — were announced in October, though the last day of these staffers is coming up Dec. 21. As part of the consolidation to lower expenses, several high-level veterans — at least one executive editor and one editor at large — will now serve all three brands in the group, while others were reduced to freelancers. There was concern among some staffers that more layoffs are likely, but a spokeswoman denied this, saying all the cuts already happened months ago. Although the fourth quarter is a time for staff downsizing, magazines have gotten a modicum of religion and decided some time ago that no one would get cut between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s holding up again this year.
“No one will be asked to leave before Dec. 31 (and many will stay at least into mid-January),” Brown said in her memo.
After that, everyone’s out of luck.
New York Times managers have until Jan. 24 to decide on the buyout offer. At Time Inc., which lost nearly 6 percent in revenue in the third quarter, layoffs are widely anticipated sometime in mid-January. Martha Stewart put Whole Living on the block, and if sold, the money-losing magazine is likely to reduce staff further.
On Wednesday, Jack Kliger, the former GQ publisher and publishing veteran, did not dismiss reports he was interested in buying Whole Living.
“I think Whole Living’s a wonderful property, but we’ll see,” he said, while attending a benefit for the Circle of Generosity Foundation, which was founded by Hearst’s Michael Clinton. “I’m really not in a position to comment on it.”