The honeymoon is over. After various bouts of Twitter love between Variety and Deadline employees in the wake of a PMC deal that brought the two publications closer together, Nikki Finke has let it be known there is trouble ahead for the paywall-ditching trade.
Assuming her information is accurate, the surprise is not that Jay Penske is planning editorial firings in March. Given Variety‘s staff size, senior salary tiers and the general post-acquisition M.O., this was pretty much a given. What’s more unusual is that PMC employee Finke is blowing the whistle on her parent company’s plans, with an end-parenthesis note that reads: ‘No matter what my corporate boss wants, Deadline reports the news.’ From Finke’s brief, pointed item:
“There is complete editorial disorganization from the top down,” a source complained. “No one knows if Variety is supposed to be a breaking news organization, an analytical publication, or some as yet undetermined hybrid. Tim Gray keeps pontificating to editorial that things are going to change and Variety will go in a new direction. But nobody knows what that means. They’re totally demoralized.”
As with all things Finke, the entertainment comes as much from how people react to her pronouncements as what’s in the missives. Here for example is a sampling of the immediate first thoughts of Vulture west coast editor (and former Variety staffer) Josef Adalian:
Previously on FishbowlLA:
Variety Editors, Reporters Dodge First Round of Penske Layoffs