Due to the hellscape of unforeseen economic events brought on by the coronavirus, The Stranger temporarily laid off 18 employees today. The personnel cuts came from virtually every department, including sales, ad design, editorial design, production, distribution, accounting, calendar, and editorial.
Additionally, The Stranger is suspending production of our print issue. It is our hope that after weathering this storm, we will be able to bring back the print edition and all the staffers whose work goes into creating it.
Ninety percent of The Stranger's revenue comes from people being able to gather in public—in rock clubs, theaters, museums, restaurants, bars, etc.—and many of our advertisers are shutting down operations as social-distancing measures go into effect across the region. However, some businesses and cultural institutions remain open, as well as some restaurants, and we hope you support them if you can, for the overall well-being of our city.
The Stranger has never had to do mass layoffs before, nor have we ever not put out our print edition, with the exception of the one week we skipped in 2017 when we reconceptualized the print edition as a biweekly.
The newsroom layoffs include managing editor Leilani Polk, music critic Dave Segal, art critic Jasmyne Keimig, reporter Lester Black, writer Katie Herzog, and copyeditor Gillian Anderson. Some of these staffers volunteered to be part of these layoffs. It is impossible to imagine The Stranger without any of these people, much less all of them leaving at the same time. Remaining managers at the company are taking a significant pay cut.
"This is an unbelievably sad day," said Laurie Saito, The Stranger's publisher. "But during these exceedingly difficult and unprecedented times, we have gotten donations from almost 3,000 donors. They are one of the big reasons we can continue producing journalism about the city."
If you would like to donate, we would be grateful for your support.
We do not know what the future holds, nor when we will be able to return to normal operations. But because the city needs as much information as possible during these trying times, we are temporarily expanding Slog coverage to include the weekends, even though we will be doing so with fewer editorial staffers than normal.
We are going to work like hell to bring you stories that you cannot find anywhere else, around the clock. We are determined not to let this virus and the incompetence of the Trump administration stop us. Though it is a challenging environment for everyone, we are up for the challenge, and we are going to be back and better than ever, damn it.