Insider to Lay Off 10 Percent of Staffers, Company Says


Insider will lay off 10 percent of its team, according to a memo sent out by the company’s president on Thursday.

“The economic headwinds that have hurt many of our clients and partners are also affecting us,” wrote Barbara Peng, the president of Insider, Inc. “Unfortunately, to keep our company healthy and competitive, we need to reduce the size of our team. ”

Peng said those affected by the layoffs would receive an email on Thursday morning. Each person laid off will receive 13 weeks of base pay plus two weeks for every year they’ve been employed by Insider over four years. Additionally, laid-off employees will get a personal laptop.

“This is a difficult time for all of us,” Peng wrote. “As we go through this transition, things may feel a bit bumpy. We will get through it together, just as we always have.”

Peng said she would work with the union to “provide clarity on our proposed changes,” and the company will provide the union with proposed changes to bargain over. The union did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Henry Blodget, the company’s CEO, told staffers in a call late Thursday morning, the audio of which was obtained by The Daily Beast, that the layoffs were related to the “significant” decline in advertising dollars and people spending less time consuming news. Still, he heaped praise on Insider’s various teams.

“I just you all have done such a spectacular job working through this. We’ve had to make a lot of changes and adapt to things over the past year—our sales team and business team have done an amazing job, our editorial team has done an amazing job, and product and technology have really come together,” Blodget said. “If not for that, this would be much worse today.”

Jessica Liebman, the company’s chief people officer, said the non-union employees affected by the layoffs represented about 5 percent of the workforce. She reiterated the need to bargain with the union over the layoffs affecting union personnel.

“This period of limbo will be stressful for people in the union, which is why we want to move as quickly as possible to come to a resolution,” she said. “We have a few ideas for how we can make that limbo period a little bit easy for you all, and we’ll share those with the union reps today.”

The layoffs will not affect the international Insider teams, U.K. bureau chief Spriha Srivastava—who oversees the U.K. and Singapore bureaus—told staffers in an email.

“We understand that this is a tough time for all and that some of you will have US colleagues affected by the changes,” Srivastava wrote. “Today, I would ask you all to help support our colleagues in the US by continuing to cover great stories and producing fascinating journalism.”

Inside the Collapse of Insider’s Much-Hyped D.C. Team

The company’s layoffs reflect how media organizations have adjusted to a dwindling advertising market, rising inflation, and fears of a recession. CNN, The Washington Post, NPR, and Vox Media have all announced various forms of layoffs within the last six months.

Insider alluded to the possibility of layoffs just last week. In an April 11 summary of a meeting, Jennifer Cunningham, the news division’s editor-in-chief, said the company was “not immune to the headwinds in our industry.”

She wrote: “So while we are not making staff reduction at this time, unfortunately, we can’t promise that we will not need to at some point.”

The layoff announcement also came a week after global editor-in-chief Nicholas Carlson said the company planned to incorporate AI into the newsroom. “Generative AI can make all of you better editors, reporters, and producers, too,” he wrote to staffers.

That timing was not lost on multiple Insider staffers. After Carlson led a three-minute call about the layoffs, where he took no questions, multiple enraged staffers in Insider’s union Slack joked that his speech wasn’t written by a human.

“If someone had a transcript, run it through an AI generator,” one staffer wrote. “This nich speech, read verbatim per usual, was definitely written by chatgpt,” another wrote. (Carlson did not, in fact, write his speech with the help of AI, an Insider spokesperson confirmed.)

In a Q&A attached to the email, the company said it chose who would remain at Insider based on “where we see the most future potential.”

Management also said these layoffs may not be the final round. “We cannot promise that—no company can,” it wrote. “But after this reduction we will be in a stronger position as we move forward.”

Non-union editorial employees will be notified on Thursday, it said, while the size of unionized editorial employees will be reduced. There will not be a hiring freeze, the company said, but it will only hire “critical, must-have talent” and backfill essential roles.

Insider spokesperson Mario Ruiz reiterated the need to adjust to economic uncertainty in a statement, but he would not state who among Insider personnel would be affected by the layoffs or the methodology used to determine who would be let go.

“Unfortunately, Insider is seeing some of the same economic headwinds as others in our industry. To keep our company healthy and competitive, we are reducing the size of our team,” spokesperson Mario Ruiz wrote. “We expect this will impact about 10% of our workforce. We regret that we have to do this and are sorry about the impact it will have on many of our teammates.”

Insider Intelligence, the research arm within the overall Insider Group, would not be affected, Ruiz said.

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