Salon has laid off
eight six editorial staffers—or 20% of its editorial staff—so that, in the words of CEO Richard Gingras, it can become "more of a true Web publication." Welcome to the internet, Salon!
In a statement to Gawker, Gingras confirmed that three editors, one writer, one photo editor, and one producer were laid off last week. The only name we've heard thus far is culture editor Joy Press; let us know if you have any other intelligence.
UPDATE: Here's the complete list:
Jeanne Carstensen, managing editor
Kevin Berger, features editor
Katharine Mieszkowski, senior writer
Joy Press, culture editor
Caitlin Shamberg, multimedia editor
Julie Coburn, photo editor
Gingras says the firings are pegged to an upcoming redesign and streamlining of the site's publishing system that will put Salon in a "good position to not just weather the economic storm but emerge much stronger than ever." Salon was launched in 1995, and has, to our knowledge, been an online publication for its entire life, which makes Gingras' determination to finally become a web site somewhat disconcerting: All these years, apparently, it's been a false web publication.
But Salon is the cockroach of the web, and has managed to survive all sorts of trials and tribulations and leadership changes to remain a valuable player—their publication of previously unseen photos of torture at Abu Ghraib and editor Joan Walsh's motherly smackdown of Bill O'Reilly were both public services—so we're confident that they'll manage. We just wish they didn't have to fire a bunch of people in order to become a web site.
Here's Gingras' full statement, which corrected our earlier reporting that eight people had been let go:
For several months we have been working on a redesign of our product, that we will launch this fall, and also a redesign of our underlying systems. We are moving away from a very traditional magazine production model and becoming more of a true Web publication, with a more direct publishing system. Moving forward, we are investing most in the writers and creative participants who can help us continue to attract the smart, discerning readers attracted to Salon. We think this direction makes us a stronger company, and puts us in a good position to not just weather the economic storm but emerge much stronger than ever. Economic times are difficult and that necessitates change. But change is also healthy and you'll be seeing many new developments from Salon over the coming months.
The financial changes emphasize what we do best — publish sharp, fast takes on the important events in the world, as well as the in-depth stories, reviews and blogs that readers come to us for — and will also allow us room to grow. Salon has always been about great writing from great writers. That will continue.
Let me also clarify the facts on reductions in edit staff. There were only six positions cut out of 29 in editorial: 3 editors, 1 writer, a photo editor and a multimedia producer. Let me also point out that all those effected last week are talented and hard-working folks and they'll be missed, personally and professionally.