There won’t be layoffs at Univision’s Gizmodo Media Group, after the company and the Gizmodo Media Editorial Union, represented by the WGAE, negotiated a buyout for its staffers.
A source confirms 44 people took the buyout, impacting all GMG sites, including Deadspin, Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku, Lifehacker, The Root, Splinter.
The buyout package did not cover Onion Inc – The Onion, The A.V. Club, ClickHole, and The Takeout, because those sites are not represented by the Gizmodo Media Editorial Union.
Most staffers that took the buyout will be leaving on July 6, although some will be “staying for a few additional weeks to wrap up specific projects.”
Editorial Director Susie Banikarim today sent a note to staff about the buyouts, stating there will be reinvestment in the newsroom. A company source says that reinvestment includes moving some freelancers to full-time positions, indicating that the final reduction of the newsroom would be minimal.
There is no detailed list of the employees who took the buyout, but Banikarim mentioned the departure of Veronica de Souza, who is the Head of Social and Audience for Gizmodo Media Group.
Over the past 12 months, other digital-media companies, such as BuzzFeed, Vox Media, Vice and Mashable have laid off people.
A wave of layoffs at parent company Univision is expected within the next week.
Here’s the Banikarim’s email to staff:
———- Forwarded message ———
From: Susie Banikarim
Date: Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 2:00 PM
Subject: Buyouts Update
I want to give everyone a final update on where things stand regarding the buyouts. As the union has likely informed you, the response to the voluntary package was significant enough for us to avoid any newsroom layoffs. While that is the outcome for which we’d hoped, any relief is bittersweet because it comes with the loss of talented and valued colleagues whose countless contributions will be greatly missed. We will allow them to share their news in their own time and in their own way.
The majority of those who took the package will have their last day on July 6. There are some cases where people will be staying for a few additional weeks to wrap up specific projects. As we transition, the executive edit team will continue working closely with the EICS and team leads to identify key roles that we cannot leave open and we have a commitment from UCI to reinvest in the newsroom accordingly.
These continue to be anxious, difficult days in media. We are seeing competitors struggle as a result of seemingly arbitrary decisions by outside platforms and we are under constant attack – not just from online trolls but also our own government. But I know of no more meaningful way to meet those attacks and this overall moment than to show up, continue our work and demonstrate that we will not be silenced by the whims of powerful people who don’t want to be held accountable or exposed. It is that defiance that defines us and it will continue to be our core mission.
Finally, I want to share a change on the executive edit team and thank Veronica who is leaving. From the moment we met during my interview process, she’s been an invaluable guide. She’s not only super smart and good at what she does, she manages to somehow also always be fierce and composed, an extraordinary combination I’ve never seen anyone else pull off quite so well.
And one final thanks to all of you. I know these last few months have taken a toll and that it will take some time to recover and rebuild. But I know the strength and talent of the people here and I have no doubt we will meet this challenge as we’ve met others – with the unrelenting resolve we bring to our work.