Just as I predicted back when the Murdoch takeover of National Geographic was announced, the carnage began today.
About 180 employees, or nine percent of the total workforce, were subject to "involuntary separation" (i.e. layoffs) and an unspecified number of additional employees have been offered "voluntary separation agreements," a spokesperson for the company confirmed.
The Fox acquisition, announced in September, is expected to close on Nov. 16.
Gary Knell, the president and CEO of National Geographic Society, sent an email to employees yesterday instructing them to be available today for individual consultations with human resources.
"After very careful and serious consideration, we are ready to communicate how our restructuring and transformation will affect each employee at National Geographic. To that end, please make every effort to be available tomorrow, November 3rd, either in your regular work location, and/or by phone. ... Please watch your inbox for important information about your employment status tomorrow," Knell wrote in the email, which was first published by Jim Romenesko.
"Murdoch's Choice: No one knows how many, at this point. Staff sitting by phones waiting to be called down one by one to HR," tweeted Donald Winslow, the editor of News Photographer magazine. Winslow added that one picture editor and one page designer were among those affected.
Welcome to Murdoch-land, National Geographic. What a colossal waste of a fine publication.