The Atlantic To Lay Off 68 Employees, About 20% Of Staff

The Atlantic, the public affairs and cultural magazine and publisher that dates to 1857, announced that it will lay off 68 employees as the coronavirus crisis has diminished their events business.

In a memo to staff, chairman David Bradley wrote that even though they have had “exceptional growth” in print and digital subscriptions since September, when they introduced a paywall, there has been an “overnight and and near-complete undoing of in-person events and, for now, a bracing decline in advertising.”

Bradley also announced play cuts for executives and a general pay freeze for the rest of the year. He wrote, “I was to tell our departing colleagues how deeply sorry I am. If we saw any prospect that your jobs souls return in a reset Atlantic, we would have found another way forward.”

The publication, based in Washington at the Watergate complex, is majority owned by Emerson Collective, the investment organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs.

Bradley also outlined an acceleration of it move toward a “consumer strategy,” with a majority of its revenues coming from its readership.

“There is no fault on the people leaving the firm,” Bradley wrote. “What makes this so particularly difficult is that these are exceptional and beloved Atlantic colleagues. They are exactly the same good people who were selected to join us at the outset. Measure for measure, they have contributed to The Atlantic as have those who are remaining. It is only that the ground has shifted.”

The Atlantic is only the latest publication to announce layoffs amid the coronavirus crisis, which in some cases only made problems with softening revenue streams worse. Vox Media, BuzzFeed and The Hollywood Reporter also have made staff cuts.


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