Roundup: Economist and VICE announce job cuts; plus, 1843 magazine turns digital

Posted on: May 18, 2020 by admin

The Economist Group has announced it is laying off 90 employees, around 7 per cent of its total workforce around the world, to address lost revenue caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

The magazine group also announced that its bi-monthly lifestyle and culture magazine 1843 will become digital-only from the August/ September issue. It is thought the move will expand 1843 magazine’s readership as the group will make issues available to digital subscribers of The Economist.

The job cuts will affect those in event and marketing areas – those most hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The leadership team and board, including Economist editor in chief Zanny Minton Beddoes, will take a pay cut.

A statement by a spokesperson for the company on Friday said, “We have made the difficult decision to restructure and reduce roles in the parts of our business most affected by Covid-19.

“Each one of our departing colleagues has been instrumental in helping us build the business we have today and leaves with our heartfelt thanks and our promise to build on the legacy they leave behind.”

VICE Media Group makes digital operations cuts

VICE Media has announced it is cutting 55 jobs in the US and 100 globally to affect the group’s digital operations section.

Digital operations accounts for 50 per cent of VICE Media Group’s costs but only brings in about 21 per cent of its revenue. In a memo to staff, VICE CEO Dubuc said that “this imbalance needs to be addressed for the long-term health of our company.”

Announcing the cuts, she also expressed concern that Big Tech is “posing a great threat to journalism”.

In the memo, posted by VICE Union, Dubuc added her support for staff during the toughest times felt by the industry due to Covid-19: “I want you to know that we’ve done absolutely everything we could to protect these positions for as long as possible, and your time and contributions will forever be part of who we are and who we will become.”

News publishers are continuing to struggle during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the decline in advertising spend, as well as keyword blacklisting causing media buyers to avoid running ads amongst content that mentions Covid-19. A campaign by Newsworks, supported by the SoE, has been highlighting the ongoing issues faced by the sector.