It has begun. The new owners of the former Gawker verticals have started laying off staff shortly after acquiring the outlets from Univision for less than $50 million, as reported by the New York Post. G/O Media have already laid off 25 employees, including executive editors.
According to The Wrap, after G/O Media purchased the Gizmodo brand of websites, which included Kotaku, Gizmodo, The Onion, and Jezebel to name a few, they started a swift round of layoffs. So far it’s being reported that 25 people have been cut from the 400 staff.
Apparently executive managing editor Alex Dickinson from Gizmodo Media was cut, along with editorial director at Gizmodo, Susie Banikarim. Gizmodo Media’s investigative special projects division manager, Tim Marchman, was also cut.
According to The Daily Beast, it was stated that most of the departures came from the business and operations side. It wasn’t made clear how many editors were let go and specifically from which verticals, but they reported that G/O Media would be bringing in new editorial staff and leaders sometime this week.
In the memo sent out to affected parties, CEO Jim Spanfeller wrote…
“Today was a tough moment in the very new life of G/O Media. But it was a necessary step. Life is about constant change. Sometimes that change is slow, and other times it is blindingly fast. Today we have parted company with approximately 25 teammates from all facets of our operations.”
Mentioning “all facets of our operations” gives the impression that this might have affected a wide-sweeping measure of individuals across all their brands, but they’ve been tight-lipped about who the other 22 affected individuals are.
We do know that one of the other 22 individuals was Kashmir Hill, a former writer at Gizmodo. It was outed by Jody Avirgan, the producer and host of 30 for 30.
I know very little about what it takes to turn around a media company, but it seems like having singular voices is probably pretty important. That @kashhill is part of these layoffs just makes no sense. There’s no other reporter like her. https://t.co/u3Pkx9sUxX
— Jody Avirgan (@jodyavirgan) April 30, 2019
According to Spanfeller, they don’t plan on making further cuts but will supposedly “add” to their stable of staff, mentioning in the memo…
“To put a finer point on this. The actions today were not performance driven but rather process motivated. As you will soon see, we will be adding headcount across our operations. The focus and requirements of these new positions will often be different than what we had, but we will add,”
Of course, no one cares about the corporate speak, the marketing talk, or the business spiel. The only thing most people probably came here to find out is if anyone from Kotaku was let go, and unfortunately it doesn’t look like there’s any clear answer to that… right now.
It definitely appears as if the bigger verticals were targeted first, with Gizmodo sitting front and center as being the recipient for the most layoffs.
What the trickle-down looks like beyond Gizmodo is still anyone’s guess, but unless they do a brisk turnaround of operations this likely won’t be the last round of layoffs we’ll be hearing about.
(Thanks for the news tip Blaugast)