When Mic made the decision this past week to make the infamous pivot to video, it was the latest in a list of publications that had made similar moves in recent months. Mic’s decision, however, came with a bit of foreshadowing. Less than two week’s before the announcement, Mic’s publisher, Cory Haik, had written a piece in Recode about the future landscape for what she described as journalism’s “visual revolution.”
Not everyone sees it in such optimistic terms.
“The pivot to video stokes a longstanding existential fear among print journalists: What if writing is now the most important, but third-most-lucrative thing you can do for your media company? What if writing, full stop, isn’t a job anymore?” wrote Bryan Curtis in July for The Ringer. He continued, “A ‘pivot’ begs the question of not just what we in the digital media are pivoting to but away from. In the case of the recent layoff victims, the answer was good reporting, fun commentary — and a rapidly receding past where mere words were enough.”
Take a look below to see what, specifically, the organizations below have left behind in the chase for video views. Check in later to see what, exactly, they have headed toward.
- Was Mashable canary in the coal mine? Perhaps. While Mashable didn’t go all video back in April 2016, that was when, on the heels of a Time Warner-led round of funding, it decided to make video a strong focal point of it offerings, laying off its politics team and doing away with its world news coverage in the process.
- Vocativ announced its pivot in June, laying off all editorial staff dealing in the printed word.
- It was in June as well that MTV News ended its “experiment in the power of longform journalism” in favor of video. That quote comes from a thorough account of what went down from Jordan Sargent in Spin.
- June again for Fox Sports, which laid off about 20 writers and editors and provided probably the most prototypically corporate explanation of the decision to forge ahead with video, with then Fox Sports national president Jamie Horowitz writing:
Today, we are announcing a plan to put the editorial strength and technical infrastructure of FOX Sports fully behind digital video. We will be shifting our resources and business model away from written content and instead focus on our fans’ growing appetite for premium video across all platforms.
This evolution in our digital strategy is a decision driven by comprehensive research, data, sales numbers and hours of conversations we’ve had this year.
- In July, Vice laid off 60 people across its sales, branded content, editorial and corporate departments, representing 2 percent of its total staff as it sought to concentrate its focus on video.
- ATTN made the move at the beginning of August, with half of its editorial staff being let go and half moving into production roles.