We try not to get caught up in the coming and goings of media figures from their publications. There are very fine sources that cover that.
But word that Slate’s laid off some of their heaviest hitters, including media critic Jack Shafer, definitely draws our attention.
In the occasionally prickly world of media reporting, it’s hard to find anyone who does not love, respect and, yes, slightly fear Jack Shafer.
So widespread is the love that American Journalism Review published a valentine to him earlier today, devoting 2,500 words to figuring out just what makes him so much better at writing about the media than everybody else.
Then, just minutes later, Adweek broke the news that Slate had laid him off, along with several others.
“These are tough times for publications,” Shafer told POLITICO. “They had to let some people go, and I was one of them.”
He said he would continue as a contributor.
Also let go are longtime senior writer Timothy Noah, winner of the 2011 Sidney Hillman Prize, and June Thomas, Slate’s foreign editor.
At least Shafer has his humor about him. Responding to Twitter posts about his firing he writes, “Reading these tweets is like reading a series of short and flattering obituaries. Being dead has never felt so good. Thanks, y’all.”
Still, the layoffs probably save Slate a couple hundred thousand dollars a year. Is that its current margin of error as a Washington Post company?