Saturday, May 18, 2024

Journalism Under Siege: WSJ Massive Layoffs, More Layoffs Coming Elsewhere, Gawker Settles Hulk Hogan Lawsuit for $31 Million


Not a great day in journalism.

Gawker Media finally settled with Hulk Hogan for $31 million. Gawker filed for bankruptcy after losing to Hogan, and sold off all their sites to Univision. The settlement represents the end of this nightmare for Nick Denton, who went too far and left himself vulnerable to snake like billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel funded Hogan’s lawsuit, then backed Donald Trump. Gawker is settling some other lawsuits, too. Maybe you hated Gawker but it served a purpose. Snark is a good thing for everyone, and now there is none.

Elsewhere the Wall Street Journal is shutting down its Greater New York section, laying everyone off and inviting the employees to reapply for 12 new positions in the main paper. Reports are that 48 others took buyouts, which could mean a loss today of 71 jobs. Yikes. Greater New York is a great read, and will be missed. but more so the people who made it.

I’m hearing more layoffs are coming at Time Inc. There’s also talk of more layoffs coming at places like the New York Times. No one wants to read a physical paper, the advertising has dried up because of it. Everyone wants to read from their phones and tablets, and no one knows how to monetize that two decades into the internet. On top of that, we have Jann Wenner selling 49% of Rolling Stone and US Weekly to the Chinese, turning over the company to his 26 year old son and getting out of Dodge before the UVA trial is over.

And then there’s the whole catastrophe at Gannet and the ill-named Tronc (former Tribune Publishing). The two companies couldn’t make a deal for Gannett to take over Tronc (LA Times, Chicago Tribune). No bank would fund the deal. There will be layoffs on both sides.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News