"We're Currently Watching The Collapse" Of The Daily Beast As 70% Of Unionized Staffers 'Gutted'

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - 11:00 PM

The journalism industry is in a severe downturn, with over 8,000 job cuts reported across the US, UK, and Canada last year alone. The first half of this year has already seen more than 1,000 layoffs from traditional newspapers, online media outlets, and even leftist nonprofit watchdog journalism organizations. The industry is crumbling in an election year as some conservative media outlets thrive. 

A new report from The Wrap says leftist media outlet The Daily Beast is "gutting its senior editorial team after implementing voluntary buyouts last month, with nearly 70% of unionized staffers leaving the outlet." 

According to people with direct knowledge of the situation, some of the senior staffers taking buyouts include reporter Justin Baragona, political investigations reporter Jose Pagliery, senior national reporter Pilar Melendez, senior reporter Emily Shugerman, and many others. About 25 unionized staffers received the buyouts, which equates to about 70% of unionized staffers. 

The people expect upcoming layoffs later this month to impact non-union editorial staffers.

"We're currently watching the collapse of The Beast," one person told TheWrap, adding, "There is no doubt the site won't be able to recover from this."

"One of the first lessons of any company: Don't alienate your core customer and piss them off so much they begin to call for a boycott against your firm," the person continued.

The source is likely referring to the Daily Beast's radical leftist reporting and boycotting of President Trump over the years. This type of reporting and commentary on Trump has made some readers highly skeptical of its stories. Remember when the outlet was sued for pumping disinformation about Hunter Biden's laptop? 

More recently, website tracking firm Similarweb has shown steep declines in Daily Beast's website traffic in recent months. 

Layoffs at the Daily Beast come as Press Gazette estimates total journalism industry job cuts in the UK, US, Ireland, and Canada total at least 1,000 in January, 615 in February, 30 in March, and 77 in April. Last year, at least 8,000 media job cuts were seen across the three countries. 

Press Gazette listed a timeline of the latest media job cuts:

The Daily Beast – At least 25 people

The Daily Beast has implemented voluntary buyouts accepted by 25 unionised staffers, or almost 75% of union members in the newsroom.

According to The Wrap those taking buyouts include media reporter Justin Baragona, political investigations reporter Jose Pagliery, senior national reporter Pilar Melendez and senior reporter Emily Shugerman. The outlet reported that senior staffers are heavily represented in the departures.

A further round of layoffs for non-unionised journalists is expected to follow.

A Daily Beast spokesperson said: "With such a generous severance offer, we anticipated a large number of employees would take the voluntary buyout. We are not at all surprised.

"These numbers allow us to move forward with our plan to secure the financial future of the Beast and rebuild a newsroom that will thrive in the current landscape. It's always difficult when dedicated employees choose to step away. We thank them and wish them the best in their future endeavors."

Evening Standard – 150 jobs

About 150 jobs are expected to be cut as a result of the Evening Standard's planned closure of its daily newspaper edition and relaunch as a weekly title. A date for the changes and end to the daily paper has not yet been set.

The proposed redundancies reportedly include 70 editorial roles. The Standard newsroom is currently made up of around 120 full-time journalists, meaning it would be more than halved.

The cuts are also expected to affect more than 40 back office jobs and around 45 roles in its printing and distribution operations, according to The Telegraph.

The Hollywood Reporter – 'Small number'

A "small number" of editorial layoffs were made at The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday 13 June, according to The Wrap.

Those affected included longtime TV editor Lesley Goldberg and senior editor of diversity and inclusion Rebecca Sun.

Goldberg said on X: "To the next generation of THR 'legacies', continue to know your worth and do your best to find work-life balance and listen to the words of wisdom of those you respect most. As for me, I'm holding onto two of the most valuable things I've learned in my time at THR: good things will always follow bad situations, and Henry Winkler really is as wonderful as everyone who has ever met him says he is."

Informa Tech – Unknown number

Informa has closed two long-running B2B titles: Digital TV Europe and Television Business International.

Informa would not confirm the number of jobs affected but a farewell message from TBI editor Richard Middleton referenced several staff members including a deputy editor, senior sales manager, marketing chief art director and product manager.

Digital TV Europe staff at the time of the closure appeared to include an associate editor and a strategic account manager.

May 2024

Wall Street Journal – At least 8 people

At least eight journalists have been laid off amid further cuts at the Wall Street Journal amid a change in how it covers US news "and how we write about the big subjects that grip America".

US news will no longer be a standalone coverage area and the East Coast, mid-US and West Coast regional bureaux are closing.

"Many" of the US news reporters are moving into other teams in the newsroom "in which they are natural fits: real estate moves to finance and economics; reporters covering state and local politics join the politics team; education moves to life and work. And some reporters will move to a new National Affairs team that will take on big topics – abortion, immigration, land use, guns, race," editor Emma Tucker told staff.

The "speed and trending" desk is converting into a new breaking news desk and the layoffs come from this team as well as the US news team. NPR reported that at least eight people's jobs are affected.

Journalists stuck post-it notes on the windows of Tucker's office in protest at the job cuts.

A WSJ spokesperson said: "Our editor-in-chief is reshaping our newsroom with an eye towards digital growth, subscription growth and high-quality journalism. While we recognise change can be difficult, it is necessary to ensure we have the right structure in place to support our objectives."

April 2024

Reader's Digest – Unknown number

Reader's Digest magazine has closed in the UK, its editor-in-chief of six years announced on 29 April.

Eva Mackevic said: "Unfortunately, the company just couldn't withstand the financial pressures of today's unforgiving magazine publishing landscape and has ceased to trade."

The number of full-time jobs affected has not been confirmed. Mackevic told freelance writers waiting to be paid that they should be hearing from insolvency practitioners.

GB News – 40 people

GB News is aiming to cut 40 roles, initially via voluntary redundancies. Staff are being offered up to two months' salary and possible payment in lieu of notice to entice them at the initial stage.

Wall Street Journal – At least 11 people

At least 11 people have been affected in the second round of layoffs at The Wall Street Journal so far this year, including four producers on the visuals desk, two social media editors, two video journalists, a senior video journalist, a video producer, and one reporter, according to The Daily Beast.

It was reported that some of the video employees were laid off as a result of the end to a Google partnership that funded the development of Youtube channels based around individual journalists or subject matters.

Open Democracy – Around 10 people

Several Open Democracy journalists announced on 10 April that they were being made redundant – including its head of news, news editor, political correspondent and two reporters.

Press Gazette understands the cuts are also affecting the commercial side of the nonprofit organisation.

Chief executive Satbir Singh and editor-in-chief Aman Sethi said Open Democracy has been hit by "wider industry trends that include rising inflation and an uncertain funding environment" and which have been exacerbated by the end to some of its funding.

The business expects to return to a break even position once the redundancy round is complete.

Mail Sport – Up to 15

Mail Sport journalists were told on 10 April of an upcoming "significant restructuring" as the brand's transition to prioritising digital continues.

Mail Newspapers global publisher of sport Lee Clayton told staff, in a memo seen by Press Gazette, that there need to be "changes in how we are set up as a desk with a digital team leading the commissioning process, supported by newspaper experts who can publish print editions to tight deadlines.

"With that in mind, we will be embarking on a significant restructuring of the department over the coming weeks."

Press Gazette subsequently reported that the restructuring was believed to affect up to 15 sports staff including cricket correspondent Paul Newman, racing correspondent Marcus Townend, Spanish football reporter Pete Jenson and chief sports reporter Matt Hughes, as well as several production staff.

The Times – At least one person

Times chief football writer of eight years Henry Winter announced on 10 April he has been made redundant.

At the time of writing Press Gazette has not yet been able to confirm if Winter was the only person affected or if other roles have been made redundant at the same time.

March 2024

i-D Magazine – 8 people

Redundancies have been made in the UK at fashion title i-D magazine, which was saved from a struggling Vice Media by model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss in November.

Eight staff in editorial or social media were let go, as first reported by Puck News fashion correspondent Lauren Sherman and confirmed by Press Gazette.

The magazine is said to be moving towards a reliance on contributors and five of those eight people have accepted a contributor role, Press Gazette understands.

Around 19 people remain on staff in the UK, including about eight in editorial and social plus the publishing director. There are plans for i-D to return to print in the autumn.

Kloss formed Bedford Media to run i-D. Bedford Media announced on 28 March it is also relaunching Life magazine under an agreement with Dotdash Meredith on a regular, but unspecified, schedule.

Deadspin – Around 11 people

G/O Media has sold sports blog Deadspin to European start-up Lineup Publishing.

All staff have been laid off as a result of the sale as Lineup plans to go with a "different content approach". Around 11 people are affected, according to Adweek.

A memo from G/O Media chief executive Jim Spanfeller, reported by, said: "I do want to make it clear that we were not actively shopping Deadspin.

"The rationale behind the decision to sell included a variety of important factors that include the buyer's editorial plans for the brand, tough competition in the sports journalism sector, and a valuation that reflected a sizable premium from our original purchase price for the site."

He added: "Deadspin's new owners have made the decision to not carry over any of the site's existing staff and instead build a new team more in line with their editorial vision for the brand.

"While the new owners plan to be reverential to Deadspin's unique voice, they plan to take a different content approach regarding the site's overall sports coverage. This unfortunately means that we will be parting ways with those impacted staff members, who were notified earlier today."

Center for Public Integrity – Around 11 people

US nonprofit news organisation the Center for Public Integrity, founded in 1989, reportedly laid off staff on 8 March.

The Center's union said 11 people were being laid off, "more than half" the union's unit. The New York Times later said less than half the overall staff were affected.

The NYT reported about a week earlier that the newsroom fell about $2.5m short of its budget goal of around $6m in 2023 and it was considering merging with a competitor or shutting down.

TalkTV – Unknown number

An unspecified number of redundancies were expected at TalkTV as News UK pulled the plug on its linear TV format to focus on cross-platform video content.

Update: TalkTV staff later began tweeting about their redundancies with TalkTV's last day on linear on 26 April.

February 2024

Cord Cutters News – Three people

Cord Cutters News, a US-based website centred on streaming services and devices and largely funded by affiliate links, has laid off three people.

Editor-in-chief Roger Cheng announced on 23 February he and two reporters were leaving after their positions were "eliminated amid the company's shift in focus to Youtube".

"I had fun learning about the ins and outs of the streaming world, and proud of some of the bigger stories I wrote," Cheng said.

The site's owner Luke Bouma, who launched Cord Cutters News ten years ago, wrote on the website on the same day that they plan to "give a renewed focus on helping people know all their options to save money on TV, phone, and related product and service reviews" and "focus more heavily on our YouTube channels, including our main Cord Cutters News channel and our second channel The Breakdown with Luke, where you can find reviews of a range of products".

WAMU – 15 people

Washington DC's NPR affiliate WAMU is laying off 15 people and shutting down local news site DCist, Axios revealed on 23 February.

Ten new positions are being added at the same time as it invests in and priorities audio.

Chief content officer Michael Tribble told Axios: "We feel like this is the best way for us to engage and build loyalty."

Vice – 'Several hundred' people

Vice told staff it was "eliminating several hundred positions" on 22 February and will no longer publish content on

Vice chief executive Bruce Dixon said in a memo it was "no longer cost-effective for us to distribute our digital content the way we have done previously" and they will instead "look to partner with established media companies to distribute our digital content, including news, on their global platforms, as we fully transition to a studio model".

Engadget – Ten people

Yahoo-owned tech site Engadget is laying off ten people and restructuring into two teams: "news and features" focusing on traffic growth and "reviews and buying advice" reporting to commerce leaders.

Editor-in-chief Dana Wollman and managing editor Terrence O'Brien announced that they were among the departures. Wollman noted: "To its credit, Yahoo has a decent severance program."

A spokesperson told The Verge on 22 February: "Engadget has played a vital role in tech journalism for 20 years and we're confident that these efficiencies will support future growth and set us up for the long-term as we continue to deliver the best experience for our readers."

Buzzfeed – 16% of staff (possibly up to 190 people)

Buzzfeed is planning to cut 16% of staff, Axios revealed on 21 February, making savings of $23m. The plan follows the sale of its entertainment brand Complex for $108.6m to livestream shopping platform NTWRK, after acquiring it for $300m in 2021.

At the end of 2022 Buzzfeed had 1,368 employees. It laid off about 180 people in April 2023 with the closure of Buzzfeed News, so these latest layoffs may have affected up to around 190 people.

Now This – At least 26 people

US-based social media news publisher Now This made redundancies on 15 February, although the total is not yet known.

The journalists laid off included Mike Madden, who led the Now This Tiktok team, senior writer PJ Evans, and senior producer Jasmine Amjad.

The Now This journalists' union said 26, or 50% of their members, had been affected.

The Intercept – 15 people

US investigative nonprofit The Intercept, which was co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, laid off 15 people on 15 February. Editor-in-chief Roger Hodge left in the changes.

A memo to staff said it was "facing significant financial challenges" like other media outlets and needs to make changes to become sustainable.

It said: "With the board's approval, the leadership team has a plan that we believe paves the way for a more sustainable financial foundation for The Intercept so that we can continue to produce high-quality investigative journalism.

"We have also implemented other cost-saving measures, including significant salary cuts for the leadership team and the flattening of the management team, to minimise the impact as much as possible."

CBS News – Around 20 people

Around 20 people have been laid off at CBS News in Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles as part of wider cutbacks at parent company Paramount Global affecting 800 people.

The CBS News staffers made redundant reportedly include chief national affairs and justice correspondent Jeff Pegues and senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge.

Bustle Digital Group – 16 people

Adweek has reported that seven editorial staff at Bustle Digital Group title Fatherly have been laid off and that the site will "significantly decrease" its output.

Adweek also revealed that nine full-time employees across the Bustle, Romper and Elite Daily brands were let go in January but this had not previously been reported.

Wall Street Journal – Around 20 people

Sixteen reporters and one columnist were let go in a shake-up of the Wall Street Journal's Washington DC coverage on 1 February, according to the Daily Beast. An unspecified number of editors are also thought to have been affected.

Editor-in-chief Emma Tucker told staff: "The new Washington bureau will focus on politics, policy, defense, law, intelligence and national security. Damian Paletta, our new Washington coverage chief, starts next week and will focus our efforts in these areas to deliver work that serves the readers and stands out from the competition.

"This means the Business team in Washington is closing as is the Washington-based U.S.-China team. Stories covered by these groups will be driven by various teams in the newsroom. We are also changing the editing structure in the bureau and are closing the D.C. News Desk; those editing functions will be handled elsewhere in the bureau or on the news desk in New York."

Journalism job cuts in January 2024

The Messenger – About 300 people

Jimmy Finkelstein's digital news start-up The Messenger abruptly closed on Wednesday 31 January, with many staff finding out from New York Times, Semafor and Axios reporting rather than management.

Editor Dan Wakeford reportedly told staff he was "not in the loop" on Slack minutes before the channel shut down.

The website was wiped less than four hours later. Staff have spoken out about being left with no severance and no health insurance.

Tech Crunch – About eight people

Tech Crunch reportedly laid off about eight people on Monday 29 January, with Adweek reporting it plans to "refocus its coverage around the investors, founders and startups of Silicon Valley".

Tech Crunch is also winding down its paid subscription product, which first launched in 2019 and was rebranded to its current guise in 2021. It aimed to provide "advice and analysis to help startups" with interviews, newsletters, weekly coaching sessions, ad-free access to Tech Crunch, and more.

Altfi – Up to 15 people

London-based fintech news website Altfi announced on Friday 26 January it was closing down after ten years.

In a farewell note, the team told readers: "Whilst our purpose, journalism and brand following has never been in doubt, we have faced severe headwinds over the last 18 months."

The Evening Standard reported that Altfi listed 15 members of staff on its website.

Forbes – Less than 3% of staff (which could be up to 15 people)

Forbes staff were told on Thursday 25 January – the same day as union members were on their first day of a three-day walkout over contract negotiations – that it planned to reduced staff by less than 3%.

Forbes has 500 employees worldwide, according to its website, meaning the layoffs could affect up to 15 people.

Forbes Media chief executive Mike Federle told staff: "Over the past few years, we've continued to find ways to diversify our business and revenue streams, and we've seen significant growth as a result.

"As we continue to position ourselves to fully align with our 2024 business strategy, we have had to reprioritize some resources so that our organization can meet those goals. These changes have resulted in the difficult decision to reduce staff in certain areas."

Business Insider – 8% of staff (which could be up to 70 people)

Business Insider told staff on Thursday 25 January it planned to make 8% of staff worldwide redundant.

It came less than a year after the Axel Springer-owned title, which then had a headcount of 950 worldwide, laid off 10% of staff in the US.

Chief executive Barbara Peng told staff that while Business Insider "closed out last year [2023] with a plan in place, a clear target audience and a vision", 2024 would be about "making it happen and focusing our company".

"Unfortunately, this also means we need to scale back in some areas of our organisation."

Time magazine – Around 30 people

Around 30 people were laid off from Time magazine on Tuesday 23 January, including about 13, or 15%, of its union-represented editorial employees, according to CNN.

The union reported that the layoffs included the majority of staff at the publisher's news publication for children, Time for Kids.

Time chief executive Jessica Sibley told staff: "We have worked to manage expenses in other areas of our business aggressively to minimize the impact of this decision on our employees. All of these actions have moved us considerably closer to being a profitable company, an achievement we must reach to realize Time's full potential.

"While this was not an easy decision to make, it is the necessary step we must take in order to drive our business forward and improve our financial position as an organization."

Pink News – Nine staff at risk

LGBTQ+ publisher Pink News put nine roles at risk of redundancy in its editorial, brand and people teams. The roles at risk include news editor, entertainment editor, weekend editor, head of brand, and marketing manager.

The UK-based publisher blamed an "unpredictable financial year… which has necessitated strategic changes to our growth priorities". The company is leaning into video, it said.

Los Angeles Times – 115 people

The Los Angeles Times announced it was laying off at least 115 people, or more than 20% of the newsroom, on Tuesday 23 January.

The title's owner Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong said the cuts were necessary because it could "no longer lose $30 million to $40 million a year without making progress toward building higher readership that would bring in advertising and subscriptions to sustain the organization", the newspaper reported.

The Washington bureau, photography and sports departments and video unit were particularly hard-hit, it added.

Soon-Shiong has owned the Times for almost six years, after buying it from Tribune Publishing along with the San Diego Union-Tribune for $500m.

It came just six months after Los Angeles Times cut 74 roles in the newsroom, or about 13%.

Mediahuis Ireland – Around 50 people

Mediahuis Ireland is seeking voluntary redundancies with the aim of cutting costs by €4m annually. Compulsory redundancies could follow if there is not enough staff uptake.

The publisher of newspaper titles including the Irish Independent, Sunday World and Belfast Telegraph, as well as regionals such as The Kerryman and Wexford Times told staff on Tuesday 23 January it was seeking to reduce headcount by around 10%.

Around 549 people work for Mediahuis Ireland – 338 in journalism roles and 211 in areas like technology, HR and finance, according to the Irish Independent. Around 50 jobs are therefore expected to go, with 30 in editorial.

Chief executive Peter Vandermeersch told staff: "I am convinced that our strategy is the right one: to restructure our business to make this a leaner, more streamlined news organisation with the most efficient processes and systems possible, while continuing to produce the highest quality journalism and diversifying our revenues to build a sustainable future for our company."

It comes less than a year after a previous round of voluntary redundancies. Its current headcount is already down by about 35% from when Mediahuis bought Irish news publisher Independent News and Media in 2019.

Sports Illustrated – Most, if not all, staff

Most, if not all, of Sports Illustrated's staff were laid off after the publisher's failure to pay a licensing fee saw the licence revoked.

The exact numbers of job losses are unclear but it was a heavy hit to the 70-year-old magazine. The Sports Illustrated Union said it had been told of plans to lay off "a significant number, possibly all", of its members, who work in editorial, on Friday 19 January. According to NPR, the union represented 82 Sports Illustrated employees, or 80% of staff.

Sports Illustrated owner Authentic Brands Group said it had ended its licensing agreement with The Arena Group, with Front Office Sports reporting this was because Arena missed a $3.75m payment three weeks earlier.

Authentic Brands Group bought Sports Illustrated's IP for $110m in 2019 and soon began licensing it to Arena in a ten-year deal.

Union members were reportedly given 90 days' notice, during which time there is a chance the licensing deal is resolved, but non-union members were let go with immediate effect.

Update: Minute Media, which took over publishing Sports Illustrated in March, reportedly hired back more than 90% of editorial employees who worked for it under The Arena Group.

Design Week – Three people

Centaur Media closed Design Week on 19 January. Three editorial roles were lost as a result.

The 38-year-old online magazine told readers that Centaur was shifting strategy to its "core audience of marketers, and focuses on training, information, and intelligence". It had closed in print in 2011.

Pitchfork – At least 12 people

Conde Nast folded the operation of music website Pitchfork into men's title GQ, with chief content officer Anna Wintour saying: "This decision was made after a careful evaluation of Pitchfork's performance and what we believe is the best path forward for the brand so that our coverage of music can continue to thrive within the company."

Pitchfork editor-in-chief Puja Patel left the company as a result on Tuesday 17 January, along with at least 11 other employees according to AP which reported that ten of those were journalists, leaving an editorial staff of eight.

Pitchfork, which launched in 1996, had been owned by Conde Nast since 2015.

Univision – Around 200 people

Televisa Univision cut around 200 jobs at Univision, a Hispanic network broadcaster in the US, on Wednesday 17 January.

The company said in a statement: "The evolution of the media landscape has required us to implement efficiencies and cost-cutting measures to meet existing demands and in turn, strengthen our business for the future. As a result, Televisa Univision has made the difficult decision to eliminate a small number of positions in the US across various business units."

Cuts affected on-air personalities in news and sport as well as roles in departments like production, sports, digital, and communications.

NBC News – 50 to 100 people

Around 50 to 100 people were laid off at NBC News on Thursday 11 January, with a 60-day notice period and severance packages.

NBC News and its news channel MSNBC made a similar round of redundancies a year ago in January 2023, with about 75 people affected.

The Messenger – Around 24 people

Digital news start-up The Messenger, which was launched by former owner of The Hill Jimmy Finkelstein in May last year, cut about two dozen jobs at the start of the year.

The New York Times said it was a cost-cutting measure as a result of dwindling cash reserves, blamed on a difficult advertising market.

Major journalism launches/new job roles in 2024

The Lever – Nine people – April

US reader-supported investigative news outlet The Lever has expanded with the addition of nine journalists.

It began life as a two-person newsletter in April 2020 and now has a team of 19.

Managing editor Joel Warner said: "We're thrilled that our reader-supported news outlet continues to grow and to attract high-caliber journalism talent that is breaking open huge stories week after week.

"This is a difficult time for the media industry, but our subscribership and our commitment to accountability journalism are making this expansion possible."

The new additions include a senior investigative reporter, senior enterprise reporter, three general reporters, a senior podcast producer, a contributing news designer, a social media and marketing producer, and an editorial fellow.

The Digital Frontier – 20 people – February

A new technology newsbrand, The Digital Frontier, is launching in London with a 20-strong team, of which nine are editorial roles producing a website, twice-weekly podcast and daily newsletter.

Let's not forget that the progressive watchdog journalism organization Media Matters has cut over a dozen staffers. The nonprofit is scheduled for a trial in April 2025 over its questionable research highlighting antisemitic and pro-Nazi content on X. 

The leftist mass media die-off is happening as American's trust in corporate media plummets. X is fracturing the corporate media industrial complex.