The digital media startup Mic.com is laying off 25 staffers in a broader pivot to video, according to an internal memo obtained by Splinter.
News of the layoffs was first reported by Business Insider. A number of online outlets, including Mashable, Vice, and MTV News, have recently slashed their writing staffs to focus on producing visual content that plays well on social platforms like Facebook and Snapchat.
“We made these tough decisions because we believe deeply in our vision to make Mic the leader in visual journalism and we need to focus the company to deliver on our mission,” Mic CEO Chris Altchek wrote in a note to staff announcing the changes Thursday. “Visual journalism already makes up 75% of the time that our audience spends with Mic. As new platforms emerge and existing platforms continue to grow, we believe this will become a dominant form of news consumption for our audience.”
The staff cuts come just a week after news staffers were assured in a meeting that there would be no layoffs, according to an employee with direct knowledge of the situation. “Either they’re maniacs and are lying to us all so we keep working or they’re telling the truth,” the staffer wrote in an email the day of the meeting.
There had been rumblings of potential change within Mic’s office since publisher Cory Haik penned a Recode op-ed on August 7 extolling the potential of visual journalism, according to sources within the company. VP of Content Michael Cahill left Mic the following day, according to a memo from Haik obtained by Splinter. It’s unclear whether Cahill did so of his own volition, and he’s yet to respond to requests for comment.
A phone call to Haik requesting comment was not immediately returned on Thursday morning.
Read the full text of Altchek’s memo to staffers below:
Today, we had to say goodbye to 25 very talented colleagues and friends on our full time team. We have done our best to ensure the path forward for each affected individual is as smooth as possible. Saying goodbye to colleagues is difficult and we’re very grateful for all of their contributions to Mic.
We made these tough decisions because we believe deeply in our vision to make Mic the leader in visual journalism and we need to focus the company to deliver on our mission. Visual journalism already makes up 75% of the time that our audience spends with Mic. As new platforms emerge and existing platforms continue to grow, we believe this will become a dominant form of news consumption for our audience. Our strategy to realign our resources behind this new market of ‘tap stories,’ in which we are already winning, will set us apart. In addition, we remain confident about our ability to succeed with extensions into the premium video space and already see strong traction with those efforts.
I have never been more optimistic about Mic’s future and potential. Having recently completely our Series C financing, Mic is in the strongest financial position in the company’s history.
Please join me for an all-hands at 3:00pm to discuss further and to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you for your continued energy, focus and commitment to Mic.