There’s a disturbing trend that seems to be growing with publishing companies cutting staff. Not just the cutting (although that’s certainly disturbing enough) but attempts to portray cuts as something other than what they really are.
It happened earlier this year with Johnson Publishing, which denied making layoffs but required employees to reapply for new positions within the company.
Most recently, FOLIO: senior online editor Jason Fell asked Advanstar CEO Joe Loggia about reports of 80 lay-offs and was told, "You can’t really categorize things as layoffs when they’re more of shift in strategy. [While there were layoffs] you have to remember that it’s in context that we’ve had some geographic shifts in strategy and a shift in strategy in regard to our product portfolio."
While Advanstar has also added some new positions, that specific response sparked some truly vitriolic remarks in our comments section. Nobody is happy with lay-offs and I understand trying to emphasize the positive but a publisher downplaying people losing their jobs is going to alienate the remaining work bees engaged in the daily grind of trying to help that publisher crawl out of the hole.