In your maudlin Wednesday media column: rumors of Reader's Digest layoffs [Update: And RD's response], a guarantee of Conde Nast layoffs, and the debate over the newspaper industry is one-sided, to be honest.
A tipster tells us that there have been "dozens" of layoffs at Reader's Digest yesterday and today (and maybe for the past couple of weeks too, we hear now), possibly involving the outsourcing of the mag's web department. [Related: The company's bankrupt, and looking to move to cheaper headquarters.] Know more? Email us.
UPDATE: One of the laid off staffers tells us, "Everyone is basically gone. The top web person resigned yesterday...the other was laid off." The employee says there are as few as three people left running the RD website now.
UPDATE 2: We got this email from William Adler, VP of communications at Reader's Digest:
Reader's Digest recently (not this week; a few weeks ago) ADDED about a dozen staffers in digital at readersdigest.com... did not "lose" any; it's the exact opposite of what you wrote...
and there was / is no outsourcing... readersdigest.com is staffing up, and is going great guns with traffic, advertising, etc.
The digital staffers came to RD as part of a realignment of the CORPORATE digital group... as responsibilities for branded websites have been moving into the businesses. Highest profile among those who transferred from corporate to Reader's Digest was Jonathan Hills, who was promoted to General Manager, readersdigest.com — which we announced a couple of weeks back. Some digital staff also moved into Food & Entertaining, specifically to work in Taste of Home and our digital advertising group.
The corporate Web team is focusing on driving RDA's digital Center of Excellence and applying technology to build audience, profits and revenues. The corporate web team had a small number of layoffs at the time that staff transferred into the business divisions (not this week), effectively reducing its total size. The corporate team continues to be very important to the company's growth strategy and now reports directly to Amy Radin, our Chief Marketing Officer, and they are part of her global plan. Key Web heads in the business units have a dotted line report to Radin.
There are about 20 people on the corporate digital team now.
How soon will the layoffs be coming at Conde Nast? Maybe next week at some magazines, maybe weeks or months down the road at other magazines, according to John Koblin. So you really don't know when you might go! Always fear, Nasties.
The Village Voice has a long cover story this week about the newspaper industry in New York City, which we'll sum up as: It still exists. But it's getting smaller.
Another perspective, from the NY Post, a newspaper: The newspaper industry is back! Gannett's earnings are higher than expected, so investors are piling in to newspaper stocks. Upside: They're cheap! Downside: They will get cheaper. Just you wait. Just you wait.
[Additional reporting by Hunter Walker!]