Digital media firm Vox Media, home of brands including Vox.com, SB Nation, New York Magazine, Vulture, The Verge, Thrillist and NowThis, is laying off 7% of its workforce across departments, resulting in the elimination of about 130 jobs.
Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff informed employees of the cuts in a memo Friday, citing “the challenging economic environment impacting our business and industry.” The layoffs will hit “several different teams across Revenue, Editorial, Operations and Core Services,” according to Bankoff. Employees were to be notified via email if they were losing their jobs within 15 minutes of Bankoff sending out the memo.
“Unfortunately, in this economic climate, we’re not able to sustain projects and areas of the business that have not performed as anticipated, are less core to where we see the biggest opportunities in the coming years, or where we don’t have enough rationale to support ongoing investment in what could be a prolonged downturn,” Bankoff wrote in the memo. “In spite of the dedication of the many talented people involved in these initiatives, we need to scale back.”
The company doesn’t expect further layoffs “at this time” but “we will continue to assess our outlook, keep a tight control on expenses and consider implementing other cost savings measures as needed,” Bankoff added. (Read the full memo below.)
Employees who were pink-slipped include Vox.com senior correspondent and former culture editor Emily St. James; Thrillist senior writer Dustin Nelson; Kerensa Cadenas, editorial director of culture for Thrillist; SB Nation writer Jas Kang; SB Nation editor Nate Wilcox; Eater chief critic Ryan Sutton; Eater senior correspondent Meghan McCarron; Vox.com designers Amanda Northrop and Zac Freeland; James Bareham, creative director, Vox Media Networks; and Phoebe Gavin, Vox.com’s executive director of talent and development.
“I am furious for my other talented colleagues, worried for myself, and very tired, as I am on maternity leave and am having trouble processing emotions other than ‘baby,'” St. James tweeted Friday.
The cuts come after Vox Media laid off 39 employees in July 2022, which represented under 2% of its workforce at the time.
The WGA East-affiliated union representing Vox Media editorial and video staffers said Friday in a Twitter post, “We’re furious at the way the company has approached these layoffs, and are currently discussing how to best serve those who just lost their jobs.”
Vox Media in December 2021 merged with Group Nine Media, a digital media roll-up venture whose backers had included Discovery. That came after Vox Media in 2019 acquired New York Media, publisher of New York Magazine, in an all-stock deal designed to gain synergies of scale.
The company’s portfolio of brands comprises Curbed, The Cut, The Dodo, Eater, Grub Street, Intelligencer, New York Magazine, NowThis, Polygon, Popsugar, Recode, SB Nation, Seeker, The Strategist, Thrillist, The Verge, Vox and Vulture.
Read Bankoff’s memo:
Subject: Important Company Update
We’ve made the difficult decision to eliminate roughly 7% of our staff roles across departments, due to the challenging economic environment impacting our business and industry.
For those whose role has been eliminated, Chief People Officer Annie Trombatore will inform you in an email within the next 15 minutes and your People business partner will follow up with a meeting to talk through a severance package, including options to extend select benefits paid by Vox Media. Given the number of people impacted today, we are notifying them over email in an effort to inform them as soon as possible. Several different teams across Revenue, Editorial, Operations and Core Services are impacted by the layoffs. I will refrain from sharing department-level detail here, so that those leaving the company hear directly first, but senior leadership will be providing more details, as appropriate, over the course of the day and into early next week.
We are experiencing and expect more of the same economic and financial pressures that others in the media and tech industries have encountered. These difficult circumstances prompted us to take other steps over the past few months to reduce our spending. We suspended most new hiring and significantly reduced discretionary spending. While we are not expecting further layoffs at this time, we will continue to assess our outlook, keep a tight control on expenses and consider implementing other cost savings measures as needed.
Unfortunately, in this economic climate, we’re not able to sustain projects and areas of the business that have not performed as anticipated, are less core to where we see the biggest opportunities in the coming years, or where we don’t have enough rationale to support ongoing investment in what could be a prolonged downturn. In spite of the dedication of the many talented people involved in these initiatives, we need to scale back.
It is important to note that the brands in our portfolio are as relevant as ever to their audiences and in the marketplace. We continue to do outstanding work across our editorial properties and business lines. Our company is fundamentally strong; these setbacks are driven primarily by the temporal macro-economic forces that are impacting nearly all businesses in our sector.
Having said that, I realize that we need to constantly evolve and improve if we want to continue to be the leading modern media company and strongest possible workplace. Especially during a downturn, operational discipline and strategic focus will be key to Vox Media’s success. Audience engagement and loyalty will be our primary focus. We will prioritize our brands’ core missions and value to their audiences and our business partners. We’ll continue to diversify revenue and media formats, focusing on areas of the business where we expect substantial, stable growth.
I am incredibly grateful to our colleagues who will be leaving Vox Media today. Your talent and contributions have undoubtedly made us a better company. While these decisions were caused by the challenging economic environment and our need to prioritize resources, it doesn’t make this news any easier.
For those who are continuing with Vox Media, please support your colleagues today. We will schedule an All Hands in the next few weeks and will meet more frequently through the first half of the year to provide business updates.