Bustle Digital Group laid off two dozen staffers, ceased operating a publication and announced widespread pay cuts today, as the effects of the coronavirus continues to make its way through the media industry.
Out of approximately 300 employees at BDG, 24 people were laid off across sectors of the company, including editorial, sales, video and events as well as staffers working on The Outline, a company it acquired last year, and that executives are now “halting operations” on.
After four years, The Outline is no more. The site was born out of Joshua Topolsky’s relentless ambition after being fired from Bloomberg; a venture-backed attempt to build a “New Yorker for millennials“. That well of funding allowed The Outline to aim high in its first year, creating a daily podcast, robust video department, and stable of high-profile editors and staff writers. This was all underpinned by a divisive visual design, capable of Instagram-style card stacks and unique advertising. Plans to secure exclusive advertising from high-value brands never really materialized, and staff of The Outline endured waves of layoffs before ultimately selling to Bryan Goldberg’s Bustle Media Group.
While Topolsky founded The Outline, the site’s irrelevant and unapologetically rambunctious tone was best embodied by Leah Finnegan, a longtime editorial leader at the site. Formerly of Gawker, Finnegan crafted a strong team of editors and gave the site a reputation for publishing bold, interesting stories from up-and-coming writers. Their work at The Outline will be missed greatly.