Is Reed Targeting its Top Editors?
Layoffs of Sara Nelson, others send shockwaves through RBI.
The news that Reed Business Information, as part of a wave of cost-cutting, laid off Publishers Weekly editor Sara Nelson—a powerful voice within book publishing circles—sent ripples through the book industry.
Now, a source with knowledge of the Reed workforce reduction and salary freeze says that other top editors at RBI are being targeted as well. In particular, the source says, John Dodge, editor of Design News, and P.J. Bednarski, executive editor of Broadcasting & Cable, were laid off, too.
A spokesperson for RBI declined to comment.
The source said the staffs of Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable were hit so hard that speculation within the company is that Reed will produce both titles with the same editorial crew. Among those laid off were Ted Hearn, longtime Washington, D.C., bureau chief, and its art director, Nimesh Shah.
It was telling, the source said, that Broadcasting & Cable editor Ben Grossman led a conference call announcing the cutbacks at Multichannel News.
“The only people on the West Coast that are left are on Broadcasting & Cable,” the source said. “And when you let Sara Nelson go and John Dodge go, that’s bad. It says you’re not devoted to the brands. It’s been a pretty ugly couple of days.”
On Monday, RBI announced an overall workforce of 7 percent in association with the company-wide reorganization its announced last week. The publisher also instituted a hiring and salary freeze for 2009.
“[The layoffs and salary freeze] are in response to the impact tough economic conditions,” a spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to FOLIO:. “If the financial outlook materially improves in subsequent quarters, the company will revisit its decision.”