Forbes Prepares For More Across-The-Board Layoffs

After several months of quiet, Forbes is cutting more jobs again. In a staff memo by Steve Forbes obtained by FishbowlNY, the company’s CEO and editor-in-chief of the mag cited industry-wide turmoil. “We — and the entire media world — have been hit hard by both the severe recession and the seismic shifts wrought by the Web.” No word on when the layoffs will be handed down, but one source told paidContent that some staffers were told today. Back in March, Forbes let about 50 staffers go and before that, in January, it axed 19 jobs as part of the second phase of its digital/print side reorg. The first phase of that plan was last November, and resulted in the loss of 43 posts.

The business publishing world has been reeling this past year, as the Conde Nast shuttered Portfolio, while this morning, McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP) revealed that it sold BusinessWeek to Bloomberg for about $6 million, including liabilities.

From: “Forbes, Steve”
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:31:09
Subject: All Hands from Steve Forbes

We — and the entire media world — have been hit hard by both the severe recession and the seismic shifts wrought by the Web. Given these dramatic events, further layoffs, unfortunately, are necessary across the entire organization. We are grateful to our colleagues and friends for the enormous contributions they have made to Forbes over the years. We thank them for all they have done and are deeply saddened by this course of events.

While these are acutely challenging times, Forbes Media is making the strategic and organizational changes that will enable us not only to weather these storms, but ultimately to emerge as a stronger company, well-positioned to expand and prosper in the years ahead.

Media is profoundly being transformed. The traditional ways we created and disseminated content and generated advertising revenue must rapidly evolve. Innovation is critical. On the editorial side, we will maintain the essential strengths of Forbes while also deepening our relationships with our community. On the advertising side, we are making shifts to fully meet marketers’ evolving needs.

These current difficulties are a more intense version of what we underwent eight years ago, particularly after 9/11. Then, print advertising plummeted, and our Web efforts, like those of other publishers, were in the red. Competitors effectively put their Web efforts in the deep freeze while we continued to invest in ours. That is why and its affiliates today are light years ahead of virtually all other media companies. Today we are facing and adapting to even more severe economic pressures. But, as we did in the early part of this decade, so, too, we are doing today — Forbes Media is laying the foundations for a strong, exciting future. The power of the Forbes brand is enabling us to make these strategic moves that will redefine the traditional scope of this company in fundamental ways.

Sadly, right now we must navigate through these turbulent times, and we remain thankful for all you do every day at Forbes.