Skift, the B2B media company covering the travel industry, is forgoing its physical office when the lease on its Manhattan headquarters expires on July 31 and transitioning to a fully remote operation, founder and CEO Rafat Ali said Monday.
Between rent and office expenses, Ali anticipates that the move will save the company about $600,000 annually, he said, adding that the plan is to rent meeting space once or twice a week for employees located in the New York City area, while expecting some others to move elsewhere.
Skift, whose events business accounted for about 40% of its revenues in 2018 and 2019, has been operating with approximately two-thirds of its former staff since March, when it furloughed about 20 employees. Since then, the company was ultimately forced to let those staffers go, Ali said Wednesday.
The shift to an entirely remote model was something the company was “heavily considering” as soon as April, according to Digiday, in addition to other earlier measures like implementing a hiring freeze, shifting to virtual events and soliciting contributions from readers and webinar attendees to support its journalism in lieu of a metered paywall.
“Business operators are realizing this is a once in a lifetime chance of resetting your cost base,” Ali told AdExchanger last month. “This is true across all industries, not just in travel, not just in media.”
“We have aged and learned a decade’s worth in the last three months, for sure,” he added in an email Wednesday.
In a follow-up Tweet, Ali writes, “We’re dropping the word ‘remote’ internally, we are now a connected company. Playing with words helps change the mindset, gimmicky or not. We shouldn’t aspire to be a remote company, we are just a… company, a connected, distributed one with real humans not remote from each other, etc. You get the drift, it starts to unlock more creative juices, at least for us as we figure this out together with our team.”
Pay cuts and furloughs hit Outside…
On Tuesday, numerous editorial-side staffers at Outside reported on Twitter that they’d been furloughed for the next two months, and that the Santa Fe-based magazine has implemented salary cuts for remaining employees.
At least seven editors and producers said they had been placed on furlough, as well as others on the marketing, events and research side. Additionally, the company reportedly cut short its fellowships program, meaning at least five others in roles spanning editorial, video and audience development have been let go two months early.
Through a spokesperson, Outside declined to comment.
Meredith doubles down on podcasting (literally)…
Coming soon to Spotify and Apple: four new podcasts from Meredith Corp., the lifestyle magazine publisher announced Wednesday.
In the next two weeks, Allrecipes, Parents, Southern Living and Travel + Leisure will each debut a dedicated podcast series consisting of 12 episodes running 20 to 40 minutes in length. The launches will double Meredith’s podcast portfolio, joining three existing series from Entertainment Weekly and a fourth tied to Food & Wine.
The Allrecipes entry, “Homemade,” debuted on Wednesday, featuring host and Food Network personality Martie Duncan interviewing Guy Fieri.
“While we began planning these new podcasts long before the COVID-19 outbreak, we’re delighted to debut these series at a time when people are craving content and experiences that not only entertain but inspire, inform, and bring us together,” said Mel Inman, Meredith’s VP of digital content strategy and operations, in a statement.
Fast Company Honors LGBTQ Achievement
On Thursday, the team at Fast Company unveiled the magazine’s latest editorial franchise: the “Queer 50,” a list of LGBTQ women and nonbinary innovators in business and technology, produced in partnership with the professional network Lesbians Who Tech + Allies, which counts 50,000 members around the world.
Fast Company says it’s the first list of its kind from a mainstream publication, explicitly recognizing LGBTQ women and nonbinary individuals for both advocacy and business achievements.
A call for entries in January received more than 1,000 nominations for a panel of 12 Fast Company editors to sift through, with input from outside judges including entrepreneur Mark Cuban and VC investor Aileen Lee. Members of the inaugural 50 include Recode co-founder Kara Swisher, Reddit COO Jen Wong and Gimlet Media head of content Lydia Polgreen.
Previewing the first virtual National Magazine Awards…
Thursday evening, the National Magazine Awards, a.k.a. the Ellies, will be presented entirely via live stream for the first time in their 55-year history, in lieu of a cancelled live ceremony originally scheduled to be held in Brooklyn on March 12.
Much like previous iterations, however, the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) has assembled a deep roster of guest presenters for the broadcast, including two-time winner Tom Junod, who will present this year’s Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame Award to former Esquire editor-in-chief David Granger.
Several publications are up for multiple awards, including The New York Times Magazine, which earned 10 total nominations and three for “The 1619 Project” alone, as well as New York magazine and National Geographic, which each earned eight nominations.
Ten others, including 1843, National Parks magazine, Vox and The Washington Post Magazine, are competing as finalists for the first time.
Check back here Friday morning for full coverage of the awards.