THE BIG KAHUNA
|They've been trying to give away the magazine for years.
Massive changes are taking place at one of the media industry's most famous outlets, with Sports Illustrated having notified its staff of drastic and widespread layoffs.
More than 40 staff members were cut from the sports institution on Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal and reports in other outlets.
The Journal reported many employees were expecting to be told they were being laid off during a meeting scheduled for midday on Thursday, only for that meeting to be canceled at the last minute.
A group of employees were then called into another meeting shortly after 4 p.m., when they were told "their positions were being eliminated," according to The Journal.
Some reports suggest up to half of the sports bible's staff was being cut. "Management at Sports Illustrated just informed its newsroom in meetings that half the staff has been laid off, according to a person present," NPR reported on Thursday.
The exact number of layoffs is unclear, however, multiple staff members have announced they were let go on Twitter.
Staff writer Tim Rohan confirmed the layoffs on Thursday, tweeting that he was one of the employees who lost a job.
"This industry can be heartbreaking, but I don't want out. If you're hiring, I'm all ears," staff writer Joan Niesen tweeted.
According to The WSJ, the publication's chief executive announced earlier this week that Christian Stone, editor-in-chief, was leaving after seven years.
Sports Illustrated was licensed by TheMaven Inc. in June. It's reportedly planning to hire as many as 200 contractors to work for the outlet.
Just before the layoffs, SI employees signed a petition requesting that Meredith Corp. and Authentic Brands ditch TheMaven.
The petition claimed that TheMaven was trying to replace employees and would ultimately hurt the publication's quality. “TheMaven wants to replace top journalists in the industry with a network of Maven freelancers and bloggers while reducing or eliminating departments that have ensured that the stories we publish and produce meet the highest standards,” it read.