Shortly after news circulated that Bleacher Report was laying off employees, including lead SEC writer Barrett Sallee, the exact numbers of staffers being let go are being reported. According to Politico’s Joe Pompeo, Bleacher Report is laying off approximately 50 employees in its wave of cuts.
Digiday’s Sahil Patel followed up by reporting that most of the layoffs took place in B/R’s editorial operations department, largely affecting the copy editing staff and other such roles that process the many articles submitted by the site’s contributors. That would appear to be in line with Bleacher Report’s intention of reducing its “user generation” content to focus resources more on established professional writers such as Mike Freeman and Howard Beck, along with original video content, as the site continues to evolve.
Additionally, many of the video staffers who were let go worked on traditional studio-type shows that the company from which the company intends to move away in favor of original digital video content. B/R has veered into animation and documentary type of content in recent years.
Bleacher Report CEO Dave Finocchio explained the layoffs in a memo distributed to staff:
“[…] there are a few areas we needed to address in order to eliminate redundancy. As a result, some of our colleagues will be parting ways with the company this week, as their positions no longer align with current organizational goals. I’d like to sincerely thank the individuals impacted by these changes for all of their hard work and dedication to B/R.”
However, Finocchio went on to explain that the layoffs did not mean that the company was trimming its entire operation, but eliminating positions and roles seen as redundant in the evolving setup.
With a $100 million investment from Turner Sports last year, Bleacher Report has since added 170 employees and intends to fill 45 more positions, particularly in the areas of branded content and original entertainment programming. The memo added that B/R is looking to expand its product/engineering, marketing and sales teams. The company has approximately 400 employees on staff altogether.
UPDATE: Also let go in the Bleacher Report layoffs was Lead Writer Editor King Kaufman. Kaufman had been with B/R since 2011 and led the effort to clean up the site’s reputation with more professional writing, mentoring and editorial standards in the Lead Writer program, a precursor to the company being purchased by Turner. He went on to become a features editor for B/R and hosted a daily show, “Content is King,” on SiriusXM. Prior to joining B/R, Kaufman was a columnist and editor at Salon.
Kaufman posted the following statement on social media:
— King Kaufman (@king_kaufman) February 10, 2017
[Editor’s Note: The author of this article formerly worked for Bleacher Report as a MLB lead writer.]