Welcome to Monday! Today’s newsletter is brought to you by Peter.
I’ve grown used to publishing layoffs over the years, but the tech layoffs still manage to surprise me. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, announced on Friday that it was planning to cut 6% of its global workforce or 12,000 jobs, joining a fairly long list of technology companies that are reducing staff numbers over concerns about the economic slowdown.
The New York Times lists Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, Salesforce and Twitter as having previously made thousands of job cuts after concluding they had overextended, believing the pandemic-fueled boom represented a new normal. According to the NYT, technology firms have cut more than 190,000 jobs since the start of 2022.
Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai, admitted his business had expanded too rapidly during the pandemic, when demand for digital services boomed. Now the plan is to refocus on products and technology core to its future including, of course, artificial intelligence. You never know, this new-found focus might see them build an AI that helps avoid the booms and busts of late stage capitalism.
Speaking of layoffs… Axios is reporting that according to an internal memo from Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff, the company is laying off about 130 people, 7% of its 1,900 staff. Bankoff said several teams across revenue, editorial, operations and core services would be impacted by the cuts. The cuts will be focused on underperforming and non-core areas of the business and, said Bankoff, “where we don’t have enough rationale to support ongoing investment in what could be a prolonged downturn.”
And speaking of AI… in my monthly column for The International Magazine Centre I wrote about AI image creation. For the most part, I’m pretty relaxed about publishers using AI to generate images: I don’t see a great deal of difference between using AI and using stock image libraries. Also, I agree with Nick Cave. While not all AI output is “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human”, I simply don’t believe computer content will ever completely replace human content.
The Weather Channel is collaborating with Consumer Reports to give subscribers access to the latest weather alongside news, ratings and shopping information. “The Weather Channel helps consumers make daily decisions about their day, and Consumer Reports does the same thing… it was a very natural fit,” said CEO of the The Weather Company, Sheri Bachstein. “I expect we will see more collaborations like this in the future.” Me too.
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On this week’s episode, Dexerto CEO Josh Nino tells us about how the esports-focused publication went about carving a foothold in a competitive market that is often unfriendly to newcomers. He also talks about where a publication like Dexerto looks to grow revenue and audience – and whether those opportunities are universal for all digital publications – and what he thinks is the future of sports and esports-related communities online.
In the news roundup, human journalists are relegated to apologising for AI journalists’ mistakes; Musk’s Twitter bounces along the bottom; Future goes US-first; and Axios Pro reports a 100% retention rate.