The Bustle Digital Group, owner of a portfolio of real estate for digital media, including Bustle itself, has fired two dozen employees today. This includes eliminating all staff from The Outline, a cultural site that was acquired a year ago.
In a statement, a BDG spokesman said the company would continue to host The Outline archives and founder Josh Topolsky would "look for alternative ways" for his future.
"The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has forced us to make some difficult business decisions," said a BDG spokesman. "Most of the employees are going to make temporary pay cuts, and unfortunately we cut two dozen jobs across the company."
Topolsky (former editor-in-chief of Engadget and founder of The Verge) founded The Outline in 2016. The website changed its publication model over time, dismissed its authors and maintained an editorial team that continued to publish freelance content. It was then taken over by Bustle and Topolsky launched the tech news site Input under the BDG umbrella.
"(I) am incredibly proud of all the weird, fun, interesting and brilliant things we have brought into the universe and all the talented writers we have been able to publish," tweeted The Outline editor-in-chief Leah Finnegan, this morning. "(T) thank you for reading and (I) hope you will remember what we have lovingly done."
BDG was founded in 2013 by CEO Bryan Goldberg (see picture above). In recent years, not only The Outline, but also Elite Daily, Mic, Nylon and Gawker have been taken over. In many cases, business came about after layoffs or other turmoil.
We are entering what are likely to be brutal months (or longer) for the media industry as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a dramatic drop in advertising. The layoffs have already started while BuzzFeed is trying to avoid them by lowering employee wages.