- As part of a larger company-wide restructuring, the feminist magazine Jezebel will shut operations and lay off its staff immediately, parent company G/O Media said Thursday. CEO Jim Spanfeller said that after talks with two dozen potential buyers, 'we could not find Jez a new home.'1
- Spanfeller said the company — which also owns Deadspin, Gizmodo, and The Onion — blames 'economic headwinds rattling our business.” In response, the union representing the Jezebel staff said it was 'hardly surprised' by the decision due to 'Jim Spanfeller’s inability to run our website.'2
- The union, Writers Guild of America (WGA), reportedly called on G/O's private equity owners to replace Spanfeller in 2020, citing a dip in ad traffic under his leadership. The union also condemned the company for relying on ad revenue, arguing it’s difficult to sell ads on controversial topics like abortion or sexual assault.3
- Jezebel was founded by now-defunct Gawker Media in 2007 and came under the leadership of Spanfeller in 2019.2
- Jezebel's 16-year run ends as Vice Media Group on Thursday said it would lay off more employees after laying off 100 in April. The Washington Post, too, announced plans last month to cut 240 jobs while the Los Angeles Times said it would cut 10% of its newsroom.4
- Narrative A, as provided by Wired. Outdated 20th-century journalism is dying, not the concept itself. It’s time for more outlets to turn away from the ad-based model so they can truly cover controversial topics. For example, The New York Times has increased revenue due to subscriptions, a testament to their journalists being able to write without restrictions from corporate interests.
- Narrative B, as provided by Washington Post. It’s not the ads, it’s the content distribution model that’s the problem. People don’t have to work for media outlets anymore, they can build their own brands and make a living. It takes some filtering, but great content can be found from those raising their voices and spreading their message.