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Yahoo Lays Off Top Entertainment Journalists (Exclusive)

Former Yahoo executive says layoffs include employees in music, TV department

Layoffs are underway at Yahoo Entertainment as the struggling site trims entertainment news but leaves its celebrity coverage mostly intact, TheWrap has learned.

The departures include executive entertainment editor Josh Wolk, movie reporter Meriah Doty, TV editor Dave Nemetz and many in the music department, according to people familiar with the situation. The Yahoo Celebrity team was largely spared.

In early February, the company said it would be laying off 15 percent of its workforce, or about 6,000 positions, in a plan that also included selling and shuttering noncore business and exploring “strategic alternatives” — essentially putting a “for sale” sign outside Yahoo’s door.

A person familiar with the situation said the entertainment division has been suffering a slow decline in resources since late 2014, when CEO Marissa Mayer approved the expensive hire of longtime Elle magazine creative director Joe Zee to revamp the site’s Style vertical.

The revamp has included expensive original shoots and livestreams from Hollywood events.

Former New York Times columnist David Pogue is staying with the company, even though Yahoo Tech editor in chief Dan Tynan is out, a Yahoo spokeswoman confirmed for TheWrap.

In a statement, the spokeswoman said employees were being notified today of job cuts, following the announcement about workforce reductions earlier this month.

“In early February Yahoo shared a plan for the future, with this new plan came some very difficult decisions and changes to our business,” the spokeswoman said. “As a result of these changes some jobs have been eliminated and those employees will be notified today. We thank those employees for their outstanding service to Yahoo and will treat these employees with the respect and fairness they deserve.”

In an online post Wednesday, Yahoo’s global editor in chief, Martha Nelson, said the company has begun phasing out the its digital magazines Food, Health, Parenting, Makers, Travel, Autos and Real Estate. She said Yahoo would renew focus on News, Sports, Finance and Lifestyle.

“While these Digital Magazines will no longer be published, you will continue to find the topics they covered, as well as style, celebrity, entertainment, politics, tech and much more across our network,” she wrote.

Yahoo has struggled to reinvent itself under Mayer, who took the helm of the company in 2012 from Google with ambitions to reignite the one-time Internet giant for the mobile age. But Mayer’s strategies, which included pricey acquisitions of startups, myriad mobile apps and amped-up content and news machine with big-name talent like Pogue and Katie Couric, has failed to produce meaningful growth in revenue.

Matt Donnelly contributed reporting to this story.