The layoffs at Condé Nast Digital Wednesday included not only Wired.com but also Ars Technica, the website known for its in-depth, computer-related technical articles. We're told fully seven of roughly 17 staff were cut.
One insider told us three staff were let go Wednesday; another says that the total is seven — mostly writers — when you include permalancers. That's out of maybe 17 staff and permalancers, give or take, the second tipster said.
The staff-permalancer split may explain conflicting reports over what happened at Wired.com. Gawker and Silicon Alley Insider heard the site was gutted, but Condé is now saying only three staff members were let go. Perhaps that number is higher when you throw in people who were technically contractors. (We've put in an inquiry with the company.)
It's sad to see Ars so severely reduced. Not only for Condé, which not one year ago paid as much ($25 million+) for the site as it did for Wired.com, but also for the art of publishing online. Old-school print editors complain about at a certain lack of depth in Web-only publications; Condé Nast's own Graydon Carter said that the medium is weak at "telling long stories."
Ars proved that wasn't the case. One hopes it can keep doing so now that it's been thoroughly chopped up by an older, supposedly wiser firm.