The Atlantic to lay off 68 employees, cites decline in ads

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San Francisco: American public affairs and cultural magazine The Atlantic which dates to 1857 is set to lay off 68 employees, constituting about 20 per cent of the outlet’s total workforce, due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was announced by Chairman and owner of Atlantic Media, David Bradley, in a memo to staff, Deadline Hollywood reported on Thursday.

Bradley said that even though they have had “exceptional growth” in print and digital subscriptions since the introduction of a paywall in September, there has been an “overnight and and near-complete undoing of in-person events and, for now, a bracing decline in advertising.”

The rest 80 per cent will also have to make some sacrifice, “including pay cuts for executives and a general pay-freeze for the rest through the remainder of the year,” Bradley said.

Bradley also outlined a “consumer strategy” aimed at generating most of its revenues coming from its readership.

“But, in the absence of a pandemic and global crisis, we would have found some kind of kinder contraction. Surely, we would have paused over furloughs instead of severance if we believed the positions were coming back,” he said.

Bradley assured that “there is no fault on the people leaving the firm.”

“The particular timing is clear — a global pandemic that has shuttered the economy generally, advertising acutely, and in-person events altogether,” he said.

The departing employees will receive a severance package.