Atlantic Media cuts nearly 20% of jobs in U.S. as pandemic cripples events business

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Atlantic Media, the owner of The Atlantic magazine, announced Thursday the publication is cutting nearly 20% of its staff as the coronavirus pandemic devastates ad sales and the live events business.

The Atlantic, which is backed by entrepreneur Laurene Powell Jobs, is the latest media and news organization to suffer the brunt of the pandemic’s economic impact following jobs cuts at Vice Media Group, The Economist Group and Quartz Media Inc last week.

Local media has been especially hard hit as publishers such as Gannett Co Inc GCI.N and Tribune Publishing Co TPCO.O slashed jobs in April to stay afloat, exacerbating a long-term trend. U.S. newspapers have lost half of newsroom jobs since 2008, according to an April Pew Research study.

The Atlantic is eliminating 68 positions across the company on its sales, events and editorial teams, the company said. The 163-year-old magazine is also freezing salaries and reducing pay for its executives.

The Atlantic previously froze hiring and salary increases to help reduce costs.

Atlantic Media Chairman and owner David Bradley said in the memo that the magazine’s subscribers spiked by 90,000 in March, but that the growth was not enough to offset the losses to advertising and its live events business.

The Atlantic is providing at least 16 weeks of salary pay to laid off employees and covering health care until the end of 2020.

Reporting by Arriana McLymore; Editing by Lisa Shumaker