UPDATED Human Events Faces Shakeup, Layoffs

Cathy Taylor is barely four months into her gig as the editor of Human Events and the conservative weekly is already facing a massive shakeup under her leadership.

Taylor recently terminated Tony Lee who spearheaded the publication’s election blog and also dropped Brian H. Darling, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a regular columnist for nearly four years. FishbowlDC hears there are more major changes on the horizon and possibly more layoffs.

Sources close to Human Events tell us Taylor is moving the news outlet, known for its hard right conservatism, into a more “big tent” direction with an emphasis on original reporting. There will be a relaunch of the paper product and website in mid April.

Despite not pulling in a profit, Human Events isn’t thought to be in financial trouble. It is funded by its parent company Eagle Publishing.

Dismissing Lee

Lee joined Human Events in late 2010. He was initially hired to report on politics and culture but moved into political analysis with the website’s launch of “The Chase,” an opinion blog on the Republican presidential field.

Lee faced long-term health issues before and during his tenure at Human Events. A source close to the publication told FishbowlDC that this was likely a major factor in his termination, but there was also a series of conflicts between him and Taylor regarding the direction of Human Events into more centrist territory. Multiple sources expressed doubt over Taylor’s bona fides as a conservative.

The New Direction

At the core of Human Event‘s makeover…

are Managing Editor Adam Tragone, News Producer Karl Selzer and Capitol Hill Correspondent Audrey Hudson, we’re told. Editor at Large Jason Mattera, who was replaced as editor by Taylor late last year, is not believed to be included in any major agenda setting  at the publication.

Neil McCabe, editor of Guns & Patriots, a sister publication to Human Events, is currently on military leave. Acting in his place is Jarrett Stepman, a former  intern who has worked as a cross-platform freelancer at the publication for the past year.

FBDC has learned that Human Events‘ paper product will go from traditional tabloid to magazine format on white paper with bolder colors.

We reached out to Taylor for comment on the publication’s new direction and will update if she responds.

UPDATE: Taylor got back to us late this afternoon. She told us in an email that she had a “password change problem,” hence the reason she was a little late in responding. She said Human Events will be moving to a “full color tall tab” rather than a magazine format, as our sources told us.

“We are hiring reporters and today we welcomed Hope Hodge of the Jacksonville, N.C. Daily News as our new Defense and National Security reporter,” she said. An additional writer will be added to the team next week.

As for multiple sources telling FBDC that Human Events is moving its editorial content from the ideological hard right to the center, Taylor says “Our mission statement is truer than ever”: Reporting is “objective” but “not impartial.”