Jezebel to shut down after 16 years as parent company lays off staff | Mediathedigitalchaps


Jezebel, a feminist US news site, was shut down by its owners on Thursday, with 23 people laid off and no plans for the outlet to resume publication.

G/O Media, which owns Jezebel and other sites including Gizmodo and the Onion, announced the closure in a memo to staff, which was obtained by the Guardian.

“Unfortunately, our business model and the audiences we serve across our network did not align with Jezebel’s,” Jim Spanfeller, the chief executive of G/O Media, wrote in the memo, which was sent to staff on Thursday morning.

“And when that became clear, we undertook an expansive search for a new, perhaps better home that might ensure Jezebel a path forward. It became a personal mission of Lea Goldman, who worked tirelessly on the project, talking with over two dozen potential buyers.

“It is a testament to Jezebel’s heritage and bona fides that so many players engaged us. Still, despite every effort, we could not find Jez a new home.”

The closure and layoffs come at a difficult time for US journalism.

On Thursday, Vice Media Group said it would lay off a number of employees, six months after more than 100 people were laid off in April. Deadline reported that a number of Vice News shows would not be renewed, meaning some employees would lose their jobs.

Vice, once a titan of the media industry, filed for bankruptcy in May, and was acquired by a consortium of organizations following an auction.

In October, the Washington Post announced plans to cut 240 jobs through a voluntary redundancy scheme, while earlier this year the Los Angeles Times said it would lay off 10% of its newsroom staff.

The Jezebel closure brings an end to 16 years of publishing for the organization. It was launched in 2007 by Anna Holmes and Gawker Media – the online media company and blog whose flagship website shut down in 2016 after being financially crippled by a lawsuit filed by Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan.

In the memo to Jezebel staff, the Daily Beast reported, Spanfeller praised journalists’ coverage of reproductive rights in the wake of the supreme court decision to overturn Roe v Wade.

Spanfeller added that he had not “given up” on Jezebel, the Daily Beast said, despite G/O Media’s decision to shut it down.

“Media is nothing if not resilient. So are its practitioners,” Spanfeller wrote to staff. “I will keep you apprised if circumstances change.”

News of the site’s closure sent shockwaves through social media, with many former staffers and readers offering eulogies and notes about the site’s legacy.

“I am not exaggerating when I say [Jezebel] is the reason why I became a journalist. Reading it completely changed my perspective on so many things: on abortion, on sex, on how I navigated the world as a woman in general. I owe it a huge debt. Lots of us do,” wrote Rolling Stone reporter EJ Dickson on X.

Gita Jackson, a former staffer at G/O Media site Kotaku, wrote: “All my love to the staff laid off today at G/O Media, especially the staff of Jezebel. That site helped me understand how to be not just a feminist, but craft a coherent ideology, and being able to work alongside all the many wonderful people who worked there was a dream.

Laura Bassett, Jezebel’s most recent editor-in-chief, who departed the site earlier this fall, implored people on X to hire the Jezebel staffers who were let go on Thursday: “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.”