November 17, 2016 Last Updated 8:04 am

Layoffs at AOL ahead of Verizon’s Yahoo takeover; Condé Nast to upsize Glamour UK

Morning Brief: End-of-the-year downsizing has become as much a ritual as Thanksgiving dinner issues in November, but media executives continue to describe the staff cuts as part of new ‘growth initiatives’

There are many traditions this time of year, but the one most familiar to those of us in the media business is the end-of-year culling of staff, a ritual so regular that is hardly even is news these days.

cosmouk-front-240Recently The Detroit News let its entire editorial staff know that they would offer them a severance package if they would volunteer to leave the paper, hoping that if enough news people decide that now is a good time to leave the business the company could avoid layoffs. This morning, word is that Hearst UK will layoff around 60 staffers.

Sadly, media companies cannot admit that the reason they are making the cuts is due to poor revenue performance, instead the reason given is almost always part of a “growth initiative” – because, as we all know, nothing goes a business faster than making it smaller.

And media people wonder why so few trust it, the media simply can’t report about itself honestly.

Recode, Kara Swisher:

AOL lays off 500 employees in restructuring with focus on mobile, data and video

The cuts come after AOL added about 1,500 workers this year from an advertising deal with Microsoft and its purchase of Millennial Media, which prompted the consolidation to improve financial performance.

“The best way for us to grow is to move in front of change rather than be moved by change,” he wrote.

AOL, a company which has gone through many organizational iterations over the years before it was bought by telecom giant Verizon last year, is currently split two parts, media and platforms. Most of its content properties like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch are in the media unit, while its advertising technology is in the platform groups.

Armstrong said the layoffs are not related to current discussions AOL execs are having with Yahoo counterparts about integration between the two companies. Later, there will also be plans for Yahoo itself too.

To be clear, Mark Sweney is talking here about Condé Nast in the UK…

The Guardian, Mark Sweney:

Glamour magazine scraps ‘handbag’ size after 15 years

glamouruk-front-300Fifteen years after revolutionising the glossy women’s magazine market, Glamour is to scrap its “handbag” size, opting for a bigger format that recognises that in a digital age print magazines are now “luxurious and indulgent”.

Glamour became an instant success when it hit newsstands in 2001 – despite the publisher of arch-rival Cosmopolitan derogatorily labelling it a “pygmy” – and rapidly became the top-selling women’s glossy magazine in the UK.

Publisher Conde Nast said the move to scrap the handbag size was a recognition that in a digital age women are no longer “snacking” on a print product they can take with them as they did when the title was launched.

From January, Glamour will be published in a larger format, the same size as stablemates Vanity Fair and Wired, “recognising that the print experience is now regarded as more luxurious and indulgent”.

Media credibility is a huge issue, but one that I think may actually be overblown. Yes, Pew shows that if it wasn’t for Congress, no institution in America would be seen as least worthy of trust than the media. But what is meant we we say “the media”? Do the thousands of NYT subscribers not trust the paper but feel they should subscribe anyways? I doubt it. I doubt, also, that many who consume their news via Facebook or such websites as Drudge or Breitbart News see those websites as part of the media world – but they are.

I think people trust the media they consume regularly, and not everything else. So, if that is true, the media’s situation is not so bad… or you could say it is even worse. Worse, because media professionals have to admit that parts of the public have completely rejected their point of view, and would rather find a media outlet that will deliver the content that most aligns with their preconceived notions of reality. That means accurate reporting, while possibly appreciated by the readers who are already loyal readers, will not be seen as of value by those who are not prepared to consider an alternative view.

That means the real question is how do we get Americans to be more open about alternative view points? Would it be enough to simply add more voices to outlets like the NYT and WaPo, or would that be ineffective because current subscribers would be offended?

In any case, expect more articles such as the one below, as media professionals offer their own opinions as to what their portion of the media industry should do.

Forbes, Brett Edkins

In The Wake Of Trump’s Win, Here Are 5 Ways The Media Can Regain Credibility

Regaining credibility in today’s fractured media environment will be tough. A majority of Americans now receive news from Facebook, a platform that exacerbates liberal and conservative news bubbles and readily spreads fake stories. Before the election, a false story that Pope Francis had endorsed Trump was shared one million times and viewed by tens of millions on Facebook. Further fragmentation should be expected in the years ahead. The alt-right has replaced, or at least supplemented Fox News, as a conservative bastion, gaining prominence on social media and in the White House itself with the appointment of former Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon as Trump’s chief strategist.

Despite these limitations, the mainstream media still reaches tens of millions of Americans and will shape the public’s view of the Trump presidency. Record audiences watched the presidential debates. Over 70 million Americans watched TV on election night, including a record 31 million tuned to cable news. The question is, how can the media use its extensive reach to rebuild its credibility?

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Fact-check, but recognize its limitations…

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