News Deeply, the impact journalism media company founded by ABC News and Bloomberg Television correspondent Lara Setrakian, is reportedly cutting some of its staff. This was first announced by one of its editors impacted by the changes:
So in some personal news…I’m sad to say that Friday was my last day as deputy managing editor of Oceans Deeply. This is because News Deeply has halted publication on several of its platforms and had to let go of a bunch of staff. (Thread)
— Jessica Leber (@jessleber) September 4, 2018
Setrakian has confirmed the layoffs to me.
For more than six years, News Deeply has been working on a different model for beat reporting. It launched a series of “platforms” focused on specific subjects into which reporters can dig deep. They included Oceans Deeply, Syria Deeply, Refugees Deeply, Peacebuilding Deeply, Water Deeply, Women’s Advancement Deeply, and Malnutrition Deeply.
The idea behind the model is that each subject is sorely underreported, and a group of readers would benefit from more nuanced and constant coverage of the subjects. And the sites were known for great–often unsung–reporting. For example, Malnutrition Deeply reported that the Trump administration showed opposition to a WHO measure in support of breastfeeding a month before the New York Times covered it.
It seems some of these platforms haven’t been working out as well as planned. Now the website only displays three platforms: Refugees Deeply, Women’s Advancement Deeply, and Water Deeply. When users navigate to the other platforms, they are met with an announcement that the sites are “pausing publication.” And it seems that at least some of the staff associated with these platforms have been laid off. It’s unclear how many people were impacted. The company has sunset other publications before, too, including Ebola Deeply and Arctic Deeply.
The three websites that remain have funding appeals at the bottom of their home pages.
In an email statement, Setrakian confirmed the site changes to me. She wrote that the company’s model “allows us to pop up and fold down thematic platforms.” But, she added, “It’s always sad for us to see any of them go dark. Letting go of colleagues when that happens is the hardest part of my job as a CEO.”
Setrakian concluded, “The journalists behind each platform have done phenomenal work–often the only focused coverage of some of the most vital issues of our time . . . While we loved serving up that work, our financial support for these topics has come to a close.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the name of Peacebuilding Deeply, and miswrote which platform broke the Trump administration breastfeeding story. We regret the error.