Engadget Lays Off 10 Staffers in Latest Media Contraction

Editor-in-Chief Dana Wollman and Managing Editor Terrence O’Brien are among those let go at the tech-focused site

Tech website Engadget became the latest digital media outlet to announce layoffs Friday.

The nearly 20-year-old outlet, which is owned by Yahoo, is shedding 10 staffers, including Editor-in-Chief Dana Wollman and Managing Editor Terrence O’Brien. It’s also splitting its editorial team in two, one that will focus on “news and features,” and a second that handles “reviews and buying advice,” The Verge reported, citing people with knowledge of the situation.

Staffers were “blindsided” by the announcement, the report said.

“Looking forward, our intent is to continue as a leading brand in this space,” said a memo sent to staffers by Engadget General Manager Sarah Priestley obtained by Talking Biz News. “However, to ensure we remain relevant and sustainable for the long haul, we need to make some strategic shifts,” the memo continued. That included layoffs – including some outside the U.S.

“Our mission is unchanged,” the memo continued. “Engadget will continue to be home to everything from breaking tech news to in-depth reviews, live event coverage, longform reporting and more. And while change is never easy, I’m optimistic that these shifts will support the future growth of the site and set us up for the long term.

The layoffs come amid a brutal start to the year for the media industry. From legacy outlets like the Los Angeles Times and Sports Illustrated to digital outlets like Pitchfork, TechCrunch and Business Insider, hundreds of jobs have been cut in the first two months of 2024 as advertising dollars decline and parent companies scramble for profits.

The latest cuts come on top of 2,681 journalism jobs lost in 2023 across broadcast, print and digital outlets, up 48% from 2022 and 77% from 2021.

The Verge suggested the shifts at Engadget offer a picture of an outlet that is aiming “to focus on things like Google traffic, SEO, commerce, and affiliate revenue,” which can be more lucrative but also are dependent upon outside sources bringing viewers to the site.

The memo said that the News and Features team, which will be led by UK-based Executive Editor Aaron Souppouris, will have a “main charter” of “traffic growth and high-quality, timely coverage.”

The Reviews and Buying Advice team, overseen by Laura Kenney, Yahoo’s senior director for commerce content, will be led by John Falcone, who is not listed on the company’s masthead.

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