Washington Post lays off 20 newsroom employees, shuts down gaming section
By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
The Washington Post on Tuesday became the latest media company to conduct layoffs, cutting 20 roles in a move that publisher Fred Ryan had indicated last month the newspaper would take in early 2023.
Sally Buzbee, executive editor of The Post, described the decision to cut the jobs as "difficult" in a memo to employees and disclosed that the newspaper had identified 30 open roles that it will no longer fill.
"While such changes are not easy, evolution is necessary for us to stay competitive, and the economic climate has guided our decision to act now," Buzbee said. "We believe these steps will ultimately help us to fulfill our mission to scrutinize power and empower readers."
The layoffs hit multiple departments at The Post, and included pulling the plug on Launcher, the newspaper's gaming vertical that launched in 2019, a spokesperson for The Post said.
Spokespeople for The Post have stressed that the newspaper will not reduce headcount in 2023 as it will reallocate resources and invest in other areas.
The Washington Post Guild, however, denounced the move to lay off staffers.
"But to be clear, we believe any job eliminations right now — at a time of continued growth and expansion — are unacceptable," the Guild said Tuesday in a note obtained by CNN. "To our colleagues impacted today, we are sorry, and we're here for you."
"Today is a hard day for us all," the Guild added. "We're devastated for our colleagues and angered by the irresponsible and illogical decision making from The Post. But we're not done fighting or standing up for each other."
Buzbee said in her memo that employees impacted by the layoffs are being offered severance and are eligible to apply for other open roles.
The layoffs come days after The Post's owner, Jeff Bezos, visited the newsroom and held meetings with Ryan and Buzbee.
Ryan's December announcement about future layoffs prompted fury inside the Post newsroom, nearly a dozen employees at The Post told CNN at the time. "The mood is really grim," one staffer had told CNN. "People are just so livid right now. It's bad. Just bad."
In recent months, the media and technology sectors have taken a battering as advertisers tighten spending amid economic uncertainty.
Across the news industry, layoffs have been rampant. CNN, NBC News, MSNBC, Vox Media, Gannett and other news organizations have cut their workforces in recent months. And companies that haven't laid off staffers have taken strong measures to reduce spending.
Spotify announced it was laying off hundreds of staffers on Monday. Google last week joined Big Tech giants Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft in announcing layoffs. Google said it had made the decision to eliminate 6% of its workforce, which translates to approximately 12,000 jobs.
Entertainment giants, such as Warner Bros. Discovery (CNN's parent company) and Paramount Global, have also trimmed their workforces.
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