AOL Lays Off Hundreds in Corporate Synergy MassacreS

In your painful Thursday media column: major layoffs at AOL, reporters in peril in Libya, the latest Katie Couric career rumors, anonymous commenting debated, and Newsday is new, somehow.

  • The big AOL layoffs that everyone's known were coming since AOL bought Huffington Post are here today. Nine hundred staffers in total will reportedly be cut, including as many as 700 in India. Here's the memo from AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, in which he says all the casualties in AOL's editorial and tech departments here will know their fate by 3 p.m. today. As we reported last week, Politics Daily and Daily Finance are being essentially erased. And that's not all—Jeff Bercovici reports "The editorial staffs of AOL News, Daily Finance (where I worked before joining Forbes last October), Walletpop and Politics Daily have all been decimated, with only a handful of staffers between them told they're being let go." We hear that AOL headquarters at 700 Broadway are one big den of stress today. At least employees get a severance package: we hear the terms are one month severance pay for everyone, plus one week for every year they worked there, plus any unused vacation days. Better than nothing? If you know more details, email me. (And remember: Gawker is looking for writers right now! Email our editor if you're interested.)
  • Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, a correspondent for The Guardian who's been reporting from Libya for the past two weeks, has disappeared. The paper hasn't heard from him since Sunday, and is investigating his fate. Yowza. Also, three BBC correspondents were reportedly captured by Libyan security forces and tortured for nearly a full day before being released.
  • Further Katie Couric career minutiae! THR says she's "working on a potential syndicated show" which Jeff Zucker would distribute, as we heard before, although nothing's final yet. Yea, whatever. Once you go into the black hole of daytime TV, Katie, there's no coming back. But it's not really a big deal either way, in the grand scheme of things.
  • Farhad Manjoo at Slate argues that we should get rid of anonymous commenters on the internet. On one hand, it's true that anonymity tends to cause comment sections to devolve into dens of profane trollery that we wouldn't see if everyone were accountable for their own words. On the other hand, Farhad Manjoo, go back to Libya Dirty Muslin go have gay sex with Obama some more—SuperstarThinker6969.
  • The somehow "new" Newsday is coming on March 21! Oh...huh. [Suitable amount of time passes]. So, what else is going on?
[Photo: AP]