Pitchfork Hit With Layoffs, Restructuring Under GQ

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Condé Nast announced on Wednesday (Jan. 17) that it is laying off staff at the music publication Pitchfork and that the website will be absorbed by another Condé title, the men’s magazine GQ 

Anna Wintour, Condé Nast’s chief content officer, said in an email to staff that “we are evolving our Pitchfork team structure by bringing the team into the GQ organization. This decision was made after a careful evaluation of Pitchfork‘s performance and what we believe is the best path forward for the brand so that our coverage of music can continue to thrive with the company.” 

According to the memo, Puja Patel will no longer be editor in chief after the changes; she’s been in the role since 2018.

“With these organizational changes, some of our Pitchfork colleagues will be leaving the company today,” Wintour added. “I want to thank Puja for her leadership of the title over the last five years.” 

Wintour’s email to staff — first reported by Semafor — did not say how many employees were terminated. When asked about the extent of the layoffs, a Condé Nast representative pointed Billboard back to Wintour’s memo. 

“After nearly 8 [years], mass layoffs got me,” longtime editor Jill Mapes tweeted. “Glad we could spend that time trying to make it a less dude-ish place just for GQ to end up at the helm.”

“It’s official: I was laid off from Pitchfork today, along with what appears to be half the staff,” Matthew Ismael Ruiz wrote. “While on parental leave.”

Like the tech and music industries, media has been ravaged by layoffs over the past 15 months. Axios reported last June that there were more than 17,000 cuts across media in the first five months of 2023, “the highest year-to-date [total] on record.” 

Roger Lynch, the CEO of Condé Nast, told staff in November that the company planned to cut 270 employees, or around 5% of staff. “We are prioritizing cost reductions through real estate/office space savings (for example, we are already in the process of bringing our teams in the UK together in one space), closing open roles and re-phasing certain long-term projects across the business,” he wrote. 

“However, these efforts alone won’t be enough to ensure we can continue to make the investments needed to grow our business profitably,” Lynch added. “We’ve also had to make the difficult decision to implement reductions among our dedicated teams.”

Pitchfork was founded in 1996 and grew to become one of the leading voice in indie music coverage. Condé Nast acquired it in 2015.

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