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The Athletic Lays Off 20 Journalists in Reorganization

  • Cuts represent 4% of The Athletic's newsroom amid a shift toward stories with broader appeal.
  • Several local beats were impacted with Monday's cuts.
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The Athletic has laid off about 20 employees as the sports news website undertakes what a memo to employees on Monday described as “a significant reorganization.”

Since The New York Times Co. acquired The Athletic for $550 million in January 2022, the site has had a total operating loss of more than $43 million, even as subscribers have more than doubled to 3.27 million over the same span.

Athletic Publisher David Perpich and Executive Editor Steven Ginsberg wrote in a memo obtained by Front Office Sports that was sent companywide that cuts are part of the site’s aim to “reach a broader audience of fans and build an even more sustainable business.” 

The cuts represent 4% of The Athletic staff, although Perpich and Ginsberg wrote the “size of our newsroom will grow this year compared to last.”

The memo stated The Athletic had eliminated some local MLB and NHL beats “due to smaller interest from fans” — the kind of underserved beats that were the focus when Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann founded The Athletic in 2016.  

“This does not mean dutiful stories on each team daily,” Perpich and Ginsberg wrote. “It means breaking more exclusives and looking across the landscape of a given league, seizing opportunities to tell distinctive stories off the news. Our goal is to own the storylines that interest readers.”

Those impacted took to Twitter to announce their departures:

“We’ve reorganized The Athletic’s newsroom to ensure we’re structured to enact our strategy to cover the most compelling stories that matter to fans across all the teams in a given league daily,” a New York Times spokesperson said in a statement to FOS. “To achieve this, we’re enhancing how we combine the local and national expertise that’s always set our journalism apart.

“As part of the reorganization, we made the difficult decision to eliminate a limited number of newsroom roles. We will continue to invest in our editorial operation as we prioritize initiatives that help us achieve our strategy and expect The Athletic’s newsroom to be larger at the end of  this year than it was last year.”

The Athletic lost about $55 million in 2021 before the New York Times acquired the site. 

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