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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Seattle Weekly, Village Voice Media Lay Off Writers and Editors (Updated)

Posted by on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Posted last night and moved up with comments from the Weekly's editor.

The Seattle Weekly laid off at least two editorial employees today, according to a source speaking anonymously, while the paper's parent company, Village Voice Media (VVM), let go of writers and editors in its newsrooms around the country.

In Seattle, the company laid off staff writer Jonathan Kaminsky and web editor Zibby Wilder. Nationally, SF Weekly reportedly laid off four editorial staffers and Minneapolis-based City Pages cut two of its six writers. The source says VVM also laid off staffers at several other affiliates today, though exact numbers are unclear.

Not only faced with a difficult financial climate for business in general and the publishing industry in particular, Village Voice Media has faced financial hurdles in recent years following a jury ruling of illegal price-cutting practices, which later allowed the Bay Guardian to try collecting $21 million of the company's assets, and law enforcement linking VVM subsidiary to numerous cases of child prostitution.

Update: Seattle Weekly editor in chief Mike Seely says he doesn't expect further layoffs. Why let go of staff now? Seely cites "ongoing economic challenges—which impact every employer, much less publication, in the country." He adds, "Seattle Weekly will continue to put out a uniquely engaging editorial product with the smart, energetic team that remains in place. Jonathan and Zibby made wonderful contributions to the paper while they were here, and they will be missed."


Comments (17) RSS

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BombasticMO 1
Depressing for Journalism as an enterprise, not going to say I've enjoyed reading the Seattle Weekly anytime in the recent past.
Posted by BombasticMO on September 27, 2011 at 10:53 PM · Report this
The Seattle Weekly has editorial employees?
Posted by maddogm13 on September 27, 2011 at 11:58 PM · Report this
rob! 3
In spite of VVM, OC Weekly has done some kick-ass work over the years, bringing down corrupt mayors, cops, and congresscritters as well as regularly mocking republitards and christofascists in SoCal. No sign of recent layoffs on their website, though Gustavo Arellano, Scott Moxley, and Nick Schou are the only remaining names I recognize from years past. A lot of good writers have gotten canned or left in frustration over time.
Posted by rob! on September 28, 2011 at 12:50 AM · Report this
rob! 4
Oh yeah, Matt Coker's still there too.
Posted by rob! on September 28, 2011 at 12:53 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 5
A good, objective piece of reporting here, Dom. I know it must have been hard.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on September 28, 2011 at 4:14 AM · Report this
@3 - same with the Phoenix New Times, one of the few voices down there speaking out against Sheriff Joe and the corrupt legislature, and all the other crazy shit that now defines Arizona.
Posted by StuckInUtah on September 28, 2011 at 5:45 AM · Report this
I used to like SW, back when it was an independent paper that focused on local issues and the local scene. When it became Stern, it started going down hill as non-locals were calling the shots. VVM ruined it completely.
Posted by TechBear on September 28, 2011 at 6:17 AM · Report this
care bear 8
Does the Uptight Seattlite still have his job?
Posted by care bear on September 28, 2011 at 8:18 AM · Report this
Cornichon 9
Oh noes, no Zibby? How will Voracious ever make it to the interwebs now?
Posted by Cornichon on September 28, 2011 at 8:41 AM · Report this
DOUG. 10
My wife's company just laid off a couple of employees. Maybe you can report on that too.
Posted by DOUG. on September 28, 2011 at 8:53 AM · Report this
It's weird, until all the Slog stories highlighting McGinn and McKenna's battle against them I hadn't looked at the Weekly in years. Now I see they're managing some good local original reporting. Yeah, there's some stupid fluff there too, but they're trying to be more than a link aggregator, which, we have few enough left who are even trying.
Posted by gloomy gus on September 28, 2011 at 8:55 AM · Report this
@12: Try the story about John McKay today. Yep, the weekly's gone (further) downhill over the years, but I don't want to see it disappear. Like gg said, they're still able to produce some good investigative and feature content (OK -- maybe one article a month...).

Do you really want all your reporting from King5, ST and (oh christ) The Stranger...?
Posted by Mr. Happy Sunshine on September 28, 2011 at 10:07 AM · Report this
treacle 14
Seely is using the term "editorial" pretty loosely here.

@13 -- Rick Anderson, investigative reporter, has managed to weather the storm since the better days under Skip's leadership. I would imagine he's investigating other opportunities though, he's a smart man.

As much as I do not want people there to lose their livelihood, the SW could stand to be let go by VVM and become an original and engaging newspaper again. The corporate template they've been forced to produce has done them --and Seattle-- no favors.
Posted by treacle on September 28, 2011 at 10:28 AM · Report this
thisbarisover 15
But Zibby rocks!
Posted by thisbarisover on September 28, 2011 at 10:39 AM · Report this
Posted by sonder on September 28, 2011 at 12:18 PM · Report this
UncleVinny 18
Soon The Stranger will really be Seattle's Only Newspaper.
Posted by UncleVinny on September 28, 2011 at 1:24 PM · Report this
@18: Only if the Blethen Mafia decides to go Full Galt on us. That would serve us right.
Posted by maddogm13 on September 28, 2011 at 2:12 PM · Report this

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