Adam Moss’ departure from New York Magazine is looking well-timed.
Just a few weeks after his resignation as editor in chief after 15 years, the magazine is embarking on an internal restructuring that has claimed the jobs of 16 full-time employees, equal to 5 percent of the full-time head count, and another 16 part-time employees or contracted contributors. A spokeswoman for New York said the layoffs focused on audience development/circulation, copy editing, fact-checking, production and video.
“In some cases, the changes we are making reflect a need for new focus as we build our digital subscription business; in others, they reflect an overdue integration of print and digital staffs,” the spokeswoman said. “The restructuring reflects tough decisions made by our ceo and management team over the past several months in order to focus our efforts where we see the most opportunity for future growth.”
She added there are currently no plans for further restructuring.
When Moss in mid-January went public with his exit, he explained that he felt he’d simply been in the role for too long and alluded to feeling the modern job of editor (focused increasingly on sales and revenue and traffic metrics) didn’t suit him. But since then, there has been plenty of industry chatter speculating that Moss really didn’t want to stick around to be part of just such a restructuring, which has been in the works for some time. His official last day is March 31.
Until recently, New York was looking for a cash infusion and chief executive officer Pamela Wasserstein was said to be open to taking on a minority stakeholder or selling the company outright. Although the company is said last year to have had a price on it of around $100 million, it dropped over the months and was most recently thought to be priced at around $70 million. The company is also said to be losing somewhere in the neighborhood of $12 million a year. But, according to a Wall Street Journal report last month, Wasserstein has taken the magazine off the market. Cue the layoffs to try and stem the losses.
Among the laid-off staff, a majority were part of a recently formed unionized bargaining unit under NewsGuild. While the group does not yet have contract in place with New York, union leaders wrote on Twitter that they were able to negotiate with management and “able to secure improved severance pay, extended healthcare coverage and rights to our members’ publisher work.”
“We are deeply saddened by today’s news, but [the union] is proud to have been able to advocate so forcefully for our members,” NewsGuild claimed. “We remain united in our fight to create a stronger workplace here at New York Magazine.”
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