Fox News is laying off some employees who work for its digital operations, part of an ongoing examination of its overall business that has been in place since the fall, and one that involves at least one staffer tied to the network’s recent coverage of politics and the 2020 election.
“As we conclude the 2020 election cycle, Fox News Digital has realigned its business and reporting structure to meet the demands of this new era,” the company said in a statement. “We are confident these changes will ensure the platform continues to deliver breakthrough reporting and insightful analysis surrounding major issues, both stateside and abroad.” The number of digital employees affected is believed to be fewer than 20.
One of the employees affected is Chris Stirewalt, according to a person familiar with the matter, a politics editor who has been with Fox News for at least a decade. Fox News declined to comment on the status of any individual employees affected, citing a desire to maintain staffers’ privacy. Stirewalt usually has a broader profile on Fox News during election cycles. Fox News’ election coverage angered a portion of the network’s audience, who feel an early call that Arizona would be carried by President-elect Joe Biden — a prediction that was correct — played a role in crimping President Donald Trump’s chances. Stirewalt discussed those matters and others during Fox’s Election Night coverage.
Another employee tied to political coverage, Bill Sammon, a senior vice president and managing editor in Washington, told staffers Monday he planned to retire.
Fox News Media in September unveiled a restructuring effort it said was necessary to make its operations more efficient after a period of expansion. The number of people said to be affected at the time was less than 80, and the initiative was expected to include positions of all ranks except on-air anchors, reporters and contributors.
The company’s digital operations had increased staffing to handle the demands of the 2020 election, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Fox News Media is a crucial element of the economic structure of its corporate parent, Fox Corporation. In its most recent fiscal quarter, Fox Corp, said revenue rose 2%, largely due to growth at its cable operations. Affiliate and advertising revenue soared at those assets, which include Fox News, during the quarter, the company said in November. Fox said Fox News operations enjoyed “higher pricing and stronger ratings” during the period, while overall ad revenue fell due to the postponement of several live sports broadcasts due to coronavirus.