It’s now a well-known media punchline that if a newsroom experiences layoffs, the rationale will probably be because the company is “pivoting to video.” This is what happened to Vocativ, Vice, and MTV News earlier this month.
Now Mic is added to the mix; the millennial-focused media company is laying off between 20 to 30 editorial staff members as part of a larger company restructuring, reports Business Insider. And, what do you know, a lot of this structuring has to do with video.
“We made these tough decisions because we believe deeply in our mission to make Mic the leader in visual journalism and we need to focus the company to deliver on our mission,” said the company in a memo to staff, which was later published on Mic.
The layoffs are often spun as a simple business exigency: Things needed to change as the media landscape has evolved. The truth is that the media business is being squeezed, and executives only know how to follow the money in the short term. As I wrote two months ago, a pivot to video means a bow to Facebook, which along with Google controls the lion’s share of the digital ad market. If these two tech companies change their tunes about what types of content they’re going to prioritize, these pivots will be all for naught.
Which is all to say that this feels like putting a band-aid on a problem that only a stem-cell transplant can fix.