§ The Beat has obtained more information on recent layoffs at Viz. The two editors laid off were long-time vet Ian Robertson and Carol Fox, who also worked at Tokyopop in the past. Several other people from production were hit, including designer Carolina Ugalde.
Despite the unrelated departure of editor Marc Weidenbaum a few weeks ago, we’re told that Viz is still moving forward with its plans for original manga.
§ News sites and Twitter were abuzz all yesterday afternoon with news that seven more staffers were laid off at Wizard magazine, including SVP Joe Yanarella, operations manager Jodie Westhoff, art director Eric Goodman, associate editor David Paggi, and staff writers Kevin Mahadeo, Rachel Molino, and Steve Sunu. Yanarella was a long time veteran at the magazine and had taken over convention operations in recent years; Benji Dejohn will now run the Chicago and Philadelphia shows. Editors Mike Cotton and Andy Serwin remain on board.
ICv2 scored an interview with CEO Gareb Shamus, who said that the cuts were part of a move to working more with freelancers:
“What we decided to do was open up our freelance budget dramatically,” he said. “We have some really amazing writers out there that we wanted to be able to bring into the magazine.”
We also asked about the changes in conventions, where Benji Dejohn is now running Wizard’s shows in Chicago and Philadelphia. “Benji has event experience in his background and he’s done a good job in sales for us,” Shamus said of the move.
Shamus also spoke to the site about increased competition from Reed Exhibitions starting a Chicago show, but pledged to stay the course.
§ Finally, as widely reported, the great newspaper crisis has claimed its first (but probably not last) victim: The Rocky Mountain News will cease publishing today after nearly 150 years. Among the 200+ staffers cut loose are editorial cartoonist Ed Stein and sports cartoonist Drew Litton.