The pink-slip printer had been whirring loudly all day over at Variety. And moments ago, as it produced actual names, it took on the blood-curdling tone of a meat grinder.

Nikki Finke got a list of affected personnel a little while ago, and "disheartening" doesn't begin to describe it — especially with veteran industry reporter and columnist Anne Thompson leading the column out the door. She's followed by Diane Garrett, Mike Jones, Phil Gallo, Andrew Barker, Lisa Weinstein, Martha Hernandez, Alys Marshall, Byron Perry, Ben Fritz and Jeff Sneider — many of them among the tireless staffers most qualified to help the venerable trade transition to an online future.

Way to go, Variety. Only last week Thompson had the definitive scoop behind the 2009 Sundance Film Festival's hottest story. Now we are left to dab Peter Bart's spittle from our cheeks. Cancel our subscription.