Protocol president Tammy Wincup and executive editor Tim Grieve sent out the following announcement to the staff on Tuesday:
When we launched Protocol on February 5th, the economy was strong, the stock market was hitting record highs, and the unemployment rate was the lowest it’s been in 50 years. That was 11 weeks and what seems like a lifetime ago.
The coronavirus crisis has done nothing to shake our faith in Protocol’s mission or our long-term opportunity, but there’s no denying that the pandemic has profoundly changed the economic realities of the present — for tech, for journalism and for Protocol. As such, our path to that future looks much different today than it did just a short time ago.
We are writing to inform you of actions that were unthinkable when we launched. In order to be in the position to seize the future when it arrives, we regrettably must join other tech and media companies in reducing costs now. Today, we have made the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to 12 of our colleagues across the editorial and business teams. Some have been with us from the early days of Protocol planning, and each has left their important fingerprints on our publication and our team. We thank them for all that they have done, and we wish them nothing but the best. In addition, senior leaders have volunteered to take substantial pay cuts. We have just completed individual conversations with impacted employees. Our focus today is on taking care of them to the best of our abilities, including extending healthcare in this pandemic.
Across the media landscape, publications are making changes. In addition to cutting costs, we must adapt in other ways as well. While we have always planned — and still plan — to have diversified revenue streams, including subscription offerings, this is not the right moment to launch those products either. With these actions, we believe that we are positioned to continue producing high-impact journalism during the downturn and to prepare Protocol for the day when the storm clouds lift.
Our time will come. Unique among industries, the tech sector will emerge from the crisis stronger and more powerful than ever before. As a result, we believe that both the need for Protocol’s unbiased, fact-based reporting and the financial resources to support it will only grow.
With reporters and editors in San Francisco, New York, Portland and London, we have a concentration of journalistic talent that would be the envy of any newsroom anywhere. The team will continue to distinguish Protocol with the kind of essential reporting and analysis that has already made us a must-read in tech and business circles — and it will put is in a strong position for continued dramatic growth as soon as the crisis begins to ease.
Although we haven’t worked together long, the intensity of the launch and the surreal experiences of the last month have brought us all incredibly close together. That makes it so hard to say goodbye to our colleagues, but also gives us tremendous faith in our future together. Please join us in wishing them all the best — and please know how much we appreciate everything each of you has done in this journey and will do to get us through to the other side.