Recession Watch: Wizard layoffs, more on Viz layoffs, first newspaper closing

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§ The Beat has obtained more information on recent layoffs at Viz. The two editors laid off were long-time vet Ian Robertson and Carol Fox, who also worked at Tokyopop in the past. Several other people from production were hit, including designer Carolina Ugalde.

Despite the unrelated departure of editor Marc Weidenbaum a few weeks ago, we’re told that Viz is still moving forward with its plans for original manga.

§ News sites and Twitter were abuzz all yesterday afternoon with news that seven more staffers were laid off at Wizard magazine, including SVP Joe Yanarella, operations manager Jodie Westhoff, art director Eric Goodman, associate editor David Paggi, and staff writers Kevin Mahadeo, Rachel Molino, and Steve Sunu. Yanarella was a long time veteran at the magazine and had taken over convention operations in recent years; Benji Dejohn will now run the Chicago and Philadelphia shows. Editors Mike Cotton and Andy Serwin remain on board.

ICv2 scored an interview with CEO Gareb Shamus, who said that the cuts were part of a move to working more with freelancers:

“What we decided to do was open up our freelance budget dramatically,” he said. “We have some really amazing writers out there that we wanted to be able to bring into the magazine.”

We also asked about the changes in conventions, where Benji Dejohn is now running Wizard’s shows in Chicago and Philadelphia. “Benji has event experience in his background and he’s done a good job in sales for us,” Shamus said of the move.


Shamus also spoke to the site about increased competition from Reed Exhibitions starting a Chicago show, but pledged to stay the course.

§ Finally, as widely reported, the great newspaper crisis has claimed its first (but probably not last) victim: The Rocky Mountain News will cease publishing today after nearly 150 years. Among the 200+ staffers cut loose are editorial cartoonist Ed Stein and sports cartoonist Drew Litton.

Comments

  1. Alan Coil says:

    Let’s see…Wizard is laying off longtime employees in order to hire freelancers for less money. Where have I seen this paradigm before? Oh, yeah, Circuit City. Wherefore art thou, Circuit City?

    Wizard needs to find somebody to buy their conventions, then they can go out of business.

  2. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer publication.

    ~

    Coat

  3. Ben Morse says:

    Seven REAL PEOPLE just lost their jobs yesterday and that’s the best you can do? Even in this economy you can afford some class, dude.

  4. Alan Coil says:

    Ben Morse–I would guess you are letting personal friendship cloud your perception about the above post, Neither Cary nor I said anything about the people who got laid off, but we both made comment about Wizard. I have been laid off many times, so I know the feeling. Most people who get laid off deserve sympathy. Wizard deserves none.

  5. Ben Morse says:

    If you’re talking about a magazine or a company, fine, whatever. I construed Cary’s comments (not yours, for the record) to be referring to the PEOPLE who produced the publication. If that’s not the case, fine. Have whatever opinion you want of the institution, just remember it feeds some people’s families and I can’t imagine that negatively affects your life so badly you’d prefer it cease to do so as opposed to you ignoring it.

  6. As bad as Wizard is, you have to admit they have helped your favorite hobby. They have helped expose people to the industry. They are on stands all over North America. Where is Comics Scene and publishers who tried the same? These are hard choices and they have to be met. I own a business with 100 employees. When sales don’t come in I have to let some people go. It’s reality. Wizard is good for the industry. Grudges aside I hope they survive. I have nothing against them. They have helped the industry more than people will know.

    I am really worried for newspapers. Having many friends in this industry it will be hard to sell papers in the next few years. Kids just don’t read newspapers. The comic section of the papers will suffer the most.

    I am mad at Marvel, they are printing too many comics. They will kill the industry. This has shades of the 90’s again. Raise the prices and you will see people us their money for something else like food. Who can really spend that kind of money each Wednesday. Not guys who have families. Sooner of later it’s going to hit the wallets of Marvel. Hollywood money is keeping them afloat as is the case for DC also. The other publishers don’t have that luxury.

  7. Ben – maybe those seven people who got laid off from Wizard can now go out and find a job in REAL journalism.

    I only want to savor the day whan all of Wizard Magazine is nothing more than something I discarded into a kleenex yesterday morning.

    ~

    Coat

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