Mic becomes latest media company to lay off staffers amid 'pivot to video'


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Mic is the latest media company to lay off staffers amid a shift of emphasis and resources to video content.

On Thursday, the news company laid off 25 employees in order to, it said, focus more on “visual journalism.”

“We made these tough decisions because we believe deeply in our vision to make Mic the leader in visual journalism and we need to focus the company to deliver on our mission,” Chris Altchek, Mic co-founder and CEO, said in an internal email obtained by CNN.

Roughly half the layoffs hit the newsroom, according to Kelsey Sutton, Mic’s media and politics reporter.

Altchek added in his email that “visual journalism already makes up 75% of the time that our audience spends” with the site.

“As new platforms emerge and existing platforms continue to grow, we believe this will become a dominant form of news consumption for our audience,” he wrote.

The mood inside Mic on Thursday was described as “bleak as hell,” according to a source at the company.

Tom McKay, a former staff writer at Mic who now works at Gizmodo, tweeted Thursday that “Mic tried to get me to not take an offer at Giz by promising no layoffs.” Business Insider also reported that two staffers said “that the company promised during a company meeting last week that there would not be layoffs.”

Asked for comment, a spokeswoman for Mic declined to comment beyond a story about the layoffs that has been published to Mic’s website. The spokeswoman did not immediately respond to questions about the mood internally and whether the staff had been promised that there would not be layoffs.

Some Mic employees who were laid off wrote on Twitter about what had happened to them.

“The news is true! I’m out at Mic,” Kevin O’Keeffe, a senior writer at the company, tweeted. “Was a fun 2.5 years.”

“I got laid off from @mic today,” tweeted Sarah Amy Harvard, a staff writer. “I’m proud of all the work I’ve done, elevating voices of those that are voiceless, & speaking truth to power.”

The layoffs are part of a trend this year of media companies like Vocativ and MTV News cutting employees with the rationale that they are shifting their focus to video rather than print journalism.

— CNNMoney’s Oliver Darcy contributed to this report.

CNNMoney (New York) First published August 17, 2017: 12:18 PM ET



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