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PW Loses Some People, Gains Aggregate Web Content

Yesterday afternoon, we got a sudden tip from somebody outside Publishers Weekly about a big meeting among the magazine’s staff and the news—which we were able to confirm independently—that veteran features editor Dick Donahue (from whom, we note in the interest of full disclosure, we have received several assignments over the years) was no longer with the company. Not having anything more to go on than that, we floated the balloon and asked the obvious question (what’s going on?)—eventually receiving a comment from executive managing editor Michael Coffey, who assured that the meeting was about “a promising new partnering program called Book Life, which will be a web page hosting eight to 10 book-oriented sites.”

“Nothing more dramatic than that happened, sorry,” he added, which jibes with what we’d heard from other sources at the magazine: That the layoffs—which affected less than half a dozen people at PW and Library Journal, and as many as 50 people throughout Reed Business Information, had taken place late last week, and that although some portion of yesterday’s meeting was apportioned for answering whatever questions staffers may have had about the recent unpleasantness, the Book Life project was the primary topic of conversation. This will be the second time that PW has attempted to launch a Book Life brand; we look forward to discovering whether this online version will emulate the original print magazine’s attempts to reach, in Sara Nelson‘s words, “a group of interested civilians, passionate readers who care about books and want to know more about the business, how the process works… [and] want to go behind the scenes of the book culture.” Not to mention which “book-oriented sites” PW will be tapping to supply them with content…

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