At least 10 staffers and contributors for Bustle, the online women’s publication, were laid off or cut Thursday — the latest sign of distress in the digital media space as companies try to find paths to profitable growth.
A spokesperson for parent company Bustle Digital Group declined to say how many employees in all were getting pink-slipped but said only a “handful” of staffers were let go.
“Bustle’s new editorial leadership will soon be announcing several marquee hires as we prepare for a major site relaunch in early 2020,” the rep said in a statement. The New York-based company claims that it recently hired “dozens of writers and editors” across its properties, particularly at Nylon, Mic, Inverse and Input.
Bustle staff members who tweeted that they lost their jobs Thursday (Nov. 7) included movies editor Sage Young, lifestyle editors Emma Lord and Tanya Ghahremani, senior books editor Cristina Arreola, associate entertainment news editor Mallory Cara, and celebrity and entertainment news editor Jamie Primeau. In addition, freelance contributors including television writer Lindsay Denninger, lifestyles writer Jessica Booth, and entertainment writers Nicole Pomarico and Leah Marilla Thomas said their gigs were terminated by Bustle.
Those departures come after Celia Darrough, formerly Bustle’s senior news editor, announced her exit two weeks ago. “There will no longer be a dedicated News team, but I’m really, really proud of what we built and the work we put out over the past half decade,” she said in a tweet.
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This summer, BDG hired Emma Rosenblum, previously executive editor at Hearst’s Elle, as editor-in-chief of brands in its lifestyle group, which include Bustle, Elite Daily, The Zoe Report and Romper. According to BDG, the lifestyle brands garner a monthly U.S. audience of 57 million with 22 million across social media platforms.
Other recent hires at BDG include Alyssa Vingan Klein, former EIC of Fashionista.com, who was named editorial director of Nylon, which the company acquired in June. Currently, BDG has two full-time job listings posted for Bustle, seeking a fashion and beauty news editor and a senior fashion editor.
Bustle Digital Group was founded in 2013 by CEO Bryan Goldberg, who previously sold sports publisher Bleacher Report to Turner.
Goldberg bought the assets of Gawker in a bankruptcy auction last year and had planned to relaunch the gossipy news site in September — but this summer aborted the plans and laid off the staff he’d hired.
Goldberg’s purchase of Gawker.com was part of his larger roll-up strategy to build a larger-scale digital media company by combining smaller and/or distressed properties into Bustle Digital Group. BDG has made eight acquisitions to date. This year, it has acquired Inverse, The Outline, and Nylon, after buying up Mic, Gawker, Elite Daily, Flavorpill, and The Zoe Report, adding them to its original brands Bustle and Romper.
BDG also has been planning a fall launch of tech news site Input, described as a “sibling” of technology, science, and culture site Inverse and The Outline, another tech-focused site founded by Joshua Topolsky, who previously worked at Bloomberg Media and The Verge.