More than 2,100 people lost their jobs in a media landslide so far this year

media layoffs vice buzzfeed verizon
  • On Friday, Vice Media and McClatchy company announced layoffs and buyouts, respectively, that brought the number of media jobs eliminated in 2019 to over 2,100.
  • The cuts follow layoff announcements at BuzzFeed, Verizon, 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 seemed to be in freefall on Friday following the announcement that Vice Media would cut 10% of its staff and that McClatchy Company offered buyouts to 450 employees, bringing the total number of media jobs cut in 2019 to over 2,100.

The massive cuts so far this year represent a recent trend of cuts at digital-media companies that sprung up as newspapers around the country were shrinking and disappearing.



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.

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.


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.


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.

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 .


Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Job cuts hit Cond Nast in January, which quietly eliminated several positions across its properties.

Slate reported that on January 10, the day Cond 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.

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.

Alison Millington / Business Insider

The January and February 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.


See Also:

SEE ALSO: Vice Media was once flying high with buzzy branded content and a lucrative millennial audience. Now it's planning to cut 10% of employees


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