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Ugh: Time Inc. Layoffs Hit SI,

It pains me to see comrades at Sports Illustrated/ losing their jobs as part of Time Inc's 6% global work force reduction. Some very talented people were let go today, and while this Keith Kelly story doesn't name names, it won't get them their jobs back to point out who is suffering today.

This story cites the layoff numbers, advertising issues and quotes the new CEO, Laura Lang, in a memo to staff:

In a memo obtained by Bloomberg News Wednesday, Laura Lang, the company’s CEO, spoke of a new normal in which magazine companies have to learn how to do more with less. “With the significant and ongoing changes in our industry, we must continue to transform our company into one that is leaner, more nimble and more innately multi-platform,” Lang wrote.

Innately multi-platform. As opposed to multi-platform.

“To make this change, we need to operate as smartly and efficiently as possible to create room for critical investments and new initiatives. These reductions are part of this important transformation process.”

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Reader Comments (24)

Laura Lang? What is this? The Daily Planet?
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan
Sorry to see this, but cannot say its unexpected. I've worked for a magazine for 15 years now. I've been expecting a pink slip every day for the last 4 years. Best wishes to all those affected. Its going to be me next if I don't get off my duff and find something else to do.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDMS
Dog, these CEOs (or their PR firms) do speak utter crap, don't they!
01.31.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfourputter
As a guy who proudly earned a degree in Journalism, I am continually struck at how this one-great American profession is simply ceasing to exist. It was once a great honor to strive to become a reporter or columnist at a metropoliltan newspaper or national magazine but can you imagine saying to your kid today, "You want to become magazine writer? Great idea, sonny -- go for it."

What's worse is that the coverage of the news simply diminishes. Can you see a local TV station devoting weeks or months of resources to uncovering corruption and malfeasance the way newspapers once did?

What we'll eventually be left with is a legion of part-time bloggers and non-degreed rumor-mongers who simply skim the surface with little more than their OPINION of what's going on. What a deal, huh?
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
My background is journalism as well, and Ben, one of my daughters is graduating this year with a dgree in Journalism. I don't think your vision of the future of the profession is correct, but I do think it may waver (sp?) that way in the short run.

Good luck to those who got the slip.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I, too, have a Journalism degree and I have likewise been pained to witness the decline of this profession from a business standpoint. On the other hand, I have been absolutely sickened by what appears to be abject laziness in sports journalism. The tendency to just nod and agree with everything an athlete says has gone well beyond the tipping point. We saw it in the golf world with the fawning over Tiger Woods and then the huge pendulum shift when his moral deficiencies were revealed. But the main reason I wanted to post something here is that I am completely disgusted by the way Sports Illustrated has handled the Manti Te'o story. They ran a cover story earlier this year and no fact checking was done to prove the existence of this girlfriend or to prove that she died, under whatever circumstances. No fact checking whatsoever. Then when it was time to apologize, the magazine combined its non-apology with a story about how they fell for the Lance Armstrong story as well. If these "journalists" are too stretched by demands on their time for blogging, tweeting and interviewing on cable television to do basic fact checking, then maybe the publication itself should cease to exist.

end of off topic rant
01.31.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
It's Laura Lang's world. Most of us just live in it. Barely.

And that rant was perfectly on topic. But one wonders whether Manti's ridiculous story would have survived if SI had a staff of real journalists that were paid a living wage based on productivity gains associated with technological advances. Of course, that would have meant that the disconnect between "productivity" (which here means doing the same with fewer people who are paid less money, the balance going to the John Galt's of the world) and wages would have narrowed significantly.

Nothing is enough for the man, or woman, to whom enough is too little...
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
@Ben,t, dig ".....a legion of part-time bloggers and non-degreed rumor-mongers who simply skim the surface with little more than their OPINION of what's going on."

I come from a family of writers/journalists...My father was the Political Editor of "a major daily" newpaper (now defunct) and wrote a weekly mother was a reporter for a suburban twice weekly paper...I was an English Major and fomer high school English teacher. I actually stiil read books (shocking). So if I sometimes (always?) come off as sarcastic, cynical and unloving around here...all one has to do is read the reams and reams of endless drivel over deer spray and bogus internet love affairs, rumors, Tweets, re-Tweets, fake Tweets, he-said, she-said, we-said, to understand why. In truth I look at it and treat it all as humor and (cheap) entertainment. But you know,

this is where we are...this is the media we live with...I hope Laura Lang has a good supply of kryptonite stashed away...I don't see a bright future for her or her mag.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
Sorry to hear, but maybe the weekly roundtable discussion will become more manageable.

Golf Digest has had some attrition too. No one has replaced Matty G on travel, and if I'm not mistaken they've been operating without a full-time features editor for some time now. Jaime Diaz shifted from Golf Digest to Golf World, replacing Geoff Russell.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia maven
Reading the article and seeing Jeff Bewkes mandating a cut of $100 million, I wondered what he is being paid. Forbes has his 2011 compensation as nearly $26 million. Couldn't find Laura Lang info as she is relatively new to her position, but anyone think it is less than $10 million?
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ
Another print journalism expat here. I spent 25 years in the newspaper industry in a variety of editorial roles, including a stint on the sports desk of a major metropolitan daily. Then I lasted another 10 in magazines before finally wising up after seeing half of the staff blown away when ad revenues tanked.

Fortunately, I was able to leave on my own terms and now I work as a technical editor for a technology company. The pay's a heck of a lot better, and there's much more job security.

No way would I ever advise anyone to go into journalism now. You'll be scrambling for pennies and looking over your shoulder your whole career.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHalf-Shack
Laura Lang's only interests lie with her offshore bankers.
AdAge reports that one of Laura Lang's first moves as CEO "was to call a top-to-bottom review facilitated by consultants from Bain & Co., evaluating priorities, opportunities and trouble spots."
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSnoozing Marshall
don't worry...the Golf Channel will hire everybody!
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
Here's a disappointing tidbit I heard recently from a former golf writer at a fairly big newspaper in the largest market of a southern state: There is not one golf writer left at any paper statewide in one of the largest state's in the south. I can understand some of the smaller markets but we're talking major metropolitan areas......very sad.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
''In truth I look at it and treat it all as humor and (cheap) entertainment.''

Yep. I live there. Real journalism will return. Things cycle.

I have a couple of antlers in the pot ready to make some whitetail tea.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I'm pleased that Damon Hack moved out of there before the trouble started, he's definitely one of the best golf journalists at the moment.

On the other hand, I feel that people like Mark Godich certainly bring down the overall quality of golf journalism at SI.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStord
1200 words here already, for free, some of them written by pros others by "part-time bloggers and non-degreed rumor-mongers" . As one degreed in another trade, I could be offended Ben. And we can all read on line what the few remaining employed journalists in any part of the world are saying.
Does anyone weep over the fate of the guys who used to make wooden driver heads? Or stuff featheries?
Unfortunately it is the age we live in. Journalism is not dying because it is bad. Technology is changing the way we get our news. It is only a matter of time before all print is gone. I can get all the news and sports I want in the palm of my hand. Can't remember the last time I bought a book. I just download to my kindle. Those still on the payroll at print publications would be wise to start preparing for the future which will be electronic media and internet TV. Remember in the movie "Other Peoples Money," the famous line - "I'm sure the company that made the last buggy whip made the best damn buggy whip in the business."
02.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Stevens
What is particularly sad is the squandering of market position that was poised to capitalize on. They had the pre-eminent domain name, large traffic/eyeball #'s and a plethora of capable writers. Instead of dominating SI/ conspiring to produce a lame daily regurgitation of non-timely tired content better covered elsewhere. Tell Laura Lang to get her head out of her stilletos and wake up before they blow whatever residual reputation and market-share they still have.
02.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTalking Head
And yet Andrew Perloff is still being paid in the 6 figures for what is essentially a no-show job at SI.
One naturally wants to blame the internet for the decline of real journalism, but the widespread dumbing-down of magazines has been equally destructive.

Editors seem to view their readers as superficial skimmers, easily satisfied with flashy filler. They should have instead realized that the remaining people to pay for real magazines and newspapers are actually devoted to the practice of reading and should be honored with good, lively stuff.
02.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHod
Very well said, Talking Head.
And true of almost all major mag print entities on the net. There's just no level of engagement with their readers. The golf and GD comments sections are a wasteland; the odd ALL CAPS screwball and that's about it.
I think if you took someone who'd never heard of the internet, showed them the main page and asked them what it was designed to do, they would answer, 'It's designed to sell me things'. Not 'impart information' or 'broaden my knowledge'. And certainly that has to be a large part of their goal, but provide more in return (and cloak it better!) or you'll continue to be less relevant.
02.1.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdbh
People complain about the incessant commercials on the golf telecasts but I ask, "how do I DVR Golf Digest?"
02.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D

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