An external media company will cut three magazines and lay off dozens of employees
Outside Inc., which publishes more than 20 outdoor and fitness magazines, including the namesake Outside, will lay off 66 full-time employees as it shifts away from print and focuses on digital. The company has approximately 580 employees.
The news comes just months after the editorial staff of Outside magazine withdrew its petition to the National Labor Relations Board for a union election. The staff had announced their union campaign with the NewsGuild on January 4, but just six weeks later they unanimously decided to stop their efforts “for the collective good”.
“Over the past six weeks, we have had many difficult conversations. Officials, both corporate and direct, said they heard our concerns and repeatedly asked for more time to implement the change,” staff said. tweeted March 2. “We give both sets of leaders the opportunity to deliver on that promise and intend to work in good faith to help them do so.”
Outside Inc. will eliminate its Beta magazines, which focus on mountain bikes; Peloton, which focuses on bicycle racing; and Oxygen, which focuses on workouts for women; according to the Denver Business Journal, which first reported the layoffs. The company will also reduce the printing of most of its publications – with the exception of Outside magazine – to one or two issues per year. It’s unclear whether the layoffs will affect any of Outside magazine’s staff.
“In line with what many in the media industry see as the future of media, we are concertedly moving from high volume printing to a greater focus on immersive video and digital storytelling,” wrote the company in an e-mailed statement. “With this change, Outside made the difficult but necessary decision to reduce headcount, which represented 66 full-time employees across the organization.”
The company has grown rapidly over the past two years, after Pocket Outdoor Media acquired Outside magazine and several other brands in February 2021 and changed its name to Outside. Since then, the company has made 20 acquisitions and quadrupled its paid membership to over 800,000 subscribers.
Yet during this period, Outside magazine suffered cuts and high sales, according to the Declaration of January 4 of its staff. They wrote that they had little job security and that their salaries had fallen “significantly” below market standards.
“In the face of continued cuts, stagnating pay and management decisions that value profit and business expansion over our editorial missions, we believe the only way to ensure that Outside is a fair workplace and its editorial integrity is preserved by coming together and forming a union,” they wrote at the time.
Poynter contacted several staff members who signed this statement but did not immediately receive a response.
Unions can’t completely stop layoffs, but they can negotiate protections and terms that deter companies from cutting jobs. For example, they can set dismissal conditions and require companies to give notice before letting people go.
Externally eliminated employees will receive between six weeks and four months of severance pay, as well as COBRA health insurance, CEO Robin Thurston told the Denver Business Journal.