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Jenari/Shutterstock Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock Drew Grant

Passionfruit newsletter: Influencers didn’t kill journalism. Wall Street did.

It's easy to blame the rise of TikTokers and AI for the media industry's mass layoffs, but ego-tripping billionaires and private equity are the real culprits.


Drew Grant


Posted on Feb 2, 2024   Updated on Feb 2, 2024, 7:21 pm CST


Two weeks ago, the 30-year-old music news and review site Pitchfork was folded unceremoniously into GQ, gutting its staff. Conde Nast, the parent company of GQ, which acquired the venerated music site in 2015 — had its chief content officer Anna Wintour announce the layoffs during a video call where she refused to remove her sunglasses. Classy.

And yet, unsurprising. In recent weeks we’ve heard about similar minefields going off across the media landscape — Sports Illustrated did away with editorial altogether; the satirical entertainment news site Hard Drive accidentally deleted its own YouTube channel attempting to lock out its former founder after doing the same. The Messenger had an eight-month shelf life before it closed up shop, somehow forgetting to inform any of its staff that they should be looking for a new gig. Nothing seems immune: ForbesTime MagazineNew York Daily NewsBusiness Insider, the Chicago TribuneConde NastVox MediaThe Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times have mowed down entire departments in recent weeks, sparking widespread outcry, walk-out strikes and lawsuits

This is to say nothing of our fallen comrades at Mel Magazine, Buzzfeed News, Vice, Paste, Gawker/Jezebel 3 and 4.0 (respectively). A record-breaking 20,000 media jobs were lost in 2023. Over 500 journalists were laid off last month alone. …

– Drew GrantEditorial Director

In Today’s Newsletter:

  • Media Companies Are Discovering What Creators Have Known From the Beginning
  • Creator Spotlight on Charm City Paranormal
  • Universal Music Group Removes Their Catalog From TikTok
  • ‘Hazbin Hotel’ Animators Expected a ‘Passion Project’ But Got a Helluva Time
  • Streamer Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys Ditches ‘Messy’ Twitch For YouTube

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*First Published: Feb 2, 2024, 7:20 pm CST