G/O media is shuttering the female-forward publication of Jezebel after failing to find a buyer for the outlet.
The announcement was made in a memo to staff sent by CEO Jim Spanfeller who said it was a “very difficult decision.”
Approximately 23 editorial jobs are being eliminated from G/O Media in a reorganization effort, including the Jezebel team.
“We will begin by restructuring a good number of our teams (eliminating some positions while adding some others), rethinking our editorial management structure and making a very painful change to our portfolio,” wrote Spanfeller. “All these initial changes have been conceived with a tremendous amount of forethought and research.”
Spanfeller noted that G/O Media’s business model and audience did not align with Jezebel’s readership base.
“Few decisions over the course of my career have been as excruciating, and I want to make clear this is in NO WAY a reflection of the Jezebel editorial team,” Spanfeller continued.
“I haven’t given up on Jezebel,” the CEO continued. “Media is nothing if not resilient. So are its practitioners. I will keep you apprised it circumstances change.”
In August, Jezebel editor-in-chief Laura Bassett exited the company over poor working conditions for editorial staff. Reporting showed that Basset’s decision to leave Jezebel was a result of a strained relationship with Spanfeller.
Bassett became the seventh editor-in-chief among G/O’s websites who has departed the company.
I’m obviously boiling and have too much to say on this subject. But for now I’ll just say my heart is with the entire Jez staff who just got laid off, including incredible abortion reporters at a time when the beat couldn’t be more relevant to national politics. Please hire them. https://t.co/6ICuNinav9
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) November 9, 2023
G/O Media has come under fire recently for repeated attempts to use AI-generated content on their various websites, as the company continues to undergo editorial staff layoffs.
The Writers Guild of America East released a statement on Thursday in response to the announcement saying “We are devastated though hardly surprised at G/O Media and Jim Spanfeller’s inability to run our website and their cruel decision to shutter it.”
“The closure of Jezebel also underscores fundamental flaws in the ad-supported media model where concerns about ‘brand safety’ limit monetizing content about the biggest, most important stories of the day—stories that create huge traffic because people read and share them,” the statement continued.
“A well-run company would have moved away from an advertising model, but instead they are shuttering the brand entirely because of their strategic and commercial ineptitude. Jezebel was a good website,” read the statement from WGA East.
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