CNET has laid off half of its workforce

Photo credit: Unsplash
Photo credit: Unsplash

In March, CNET, a technology news and reviews site owned by digital media and marketing firm Red Ventures, let off employees in the media industry.

According to a person familiar with the changes, CNET cut approximately half of its news and video employees on Thursday, while sister site ZDNet cut 35% of its editorial staff. Furthermore, according to an earlier allegation by Verge (a CNET competitor) citing an undisclosed source, CNET laid off 10% of its personnel, or roughly a dozen people.

A CNET spokeswoman stated that “several colleagues” were laid off as part of a restructure, but refused to provide specific numbers.

CNET made headlines when it revealed that beginning in November 2022, it would use an internally developed AI engine to generate 77 stories, amounting to roughly 1% of the site’s total output. This came after Futurism, a tech blog, reported that CNET had been secretly publishing articles written by AI without anybody noticing. Furthermore, CNET said in January that it would no longer utilize AI technology after determining that more than half of the reports contained factual inaccuracies or plagiarized sections.

The reorganization and layoffs, according to CNET, will restrict the site’s coverage areas to five: consumer technology, home and wellness, energy, internet, and personal finance. These are “categories where the CNET Group has a high level of authority, relevance, differentiation, and where we can make a major difference in the lives of our audience,” according to the spokesman. “We believe that success in these focus areas will establish the groundwork for future growth and create the ideal environment for a high-growth, long-term organization.”

Roger Cheng, executive editor of CNET News; Leslie Katz, culture editor; senior journalists Queenie Wong, Erin Carson, Laura Hautala, and Sean Keane, editor at large Among those let go were Ian Sherr, scientific writer Monisha Ravisetti, video producer/host Claire Reilly, and video producer Chase Evans.

As part of the reorganization, CNET editor-in-chief Connie Guglielmo will be promoted to senior VP of AI content strategy and editor. In addition, Adam Auriemma has taken over as CNET’s editor-in-chief. Auriemma was previously the editor-in-chief of NextAdvisor, a former collaboration between Red Ventures and Time concentrating on personal finance, and before that, was the EIC of Money, WSJ deputy bureau chief, Daily Beast’s managing editor, and Fusion’s deputy editor (a joint venture of Univision and ABC News).

Red Ventures took over CNET in 2020

In 2020, Red Ventures paid $500 million to Paramount Global for CNET Media Group. Together with the flagship CNET site, the group comprised TV Guide, Metacritic, GameSpot, and Giant Bomb, which Red Ventures sold to Fandom for about $50 million last year. As a result, in January, Fandom laid off less than 10% of its employees across those businesses.

CNN, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Vox Media, NPR, BuzzFeed, and Bustle Digital Group (BDG), which recently shut down Gawker as part of cost-cutting efforts, are among the other media businesses that have laid off personnel in recent months.

Tech companies leading the wave of layoffs across corporate America

Fast interest rate increases and sluggish consumer demand have resulted in a large number of layoffs across corporate America. As a result, American banks, large IT companies, and Wall Street behemoths like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are burying the hatchet and lowering costs to weather the global economic crisis.

According to the job-tracking website, IT companies will lay off more than 150,000 employees in 2022, with more to come when growth in the world’s top economies slows after the pandemic-driven demand surge of recent years.

Google, the US IT behemoth, recently announced plans to lay off 12,000 employees, while Microsoft claims it will lose another 10,000 jobs by the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2023. Meanwhile, Amazon has announced the layoff of over 18,000 people, while Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platform, has announced the layoff of 13% of its staff, or more than 11,000 workers, as it struggles with a sluggish advertising market and growing costs.

According to the job-tracking website, IT companies will lay off more than 150,000 employees in 2022, with more to come when growth in the world’s top economies slows after the pandemic-driven demand surge of recent years.

Read Also: Layoffs: teams are getting overstretched

Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street juggernaut, began laying off staff in January as part of a big cost-cutting campaign, with over 3,000 job cuts planned. It would be the bank’s biggest layoff since the financial crisis.

It’s not just the big firms that are failing; many small businesses are facing painful decisions in the current economic slump, such as laying off workers or inventing imaginative ways to weather the storm. Retailers, for example, seek innovative ways to target Generation Z, the generation born after the millennials and rapidly becoming an important demographic for marketers and businesses to understand. As a result, merchants are harnessing the power of digital advertising as well as social media to reach this demographic.