UPDATE: Another source passed along a note that disputes the below report. Peter Rivera the SVP of the photo department tells his people:
“Apparently the source knows more about the photo business plan than I do. (I was being sarcastic as they do not).
Gang, I am not going to lie and say that there will not be reductions in staff. I think we all get the current business climate and the next few months will be challenging for us all.
But I do want to stress that we will continue to edit quality photos for our sites into 2010 right here in the US. It is still a part of our strategy.”
Original: AOL will eliminate a large majority of its U.S. photo department, staffed by 40 or so employees, according to a single AOL source.
The thinking is that AOL’s media boss Bill Wilson isn’t keen on having a large staff manning photos. He’d rather outsource it to India and get bloggers/writers to put up their own photos.
It makes sense to us.
AOL is not the company it once was. It’s a lean operation trying to crank out content. It can’t afford a big staff for photos for the sites.
Other bits we’re hearing from around the office about today’s layoffs:
- People are in shock.
- A lot of people are interested in the severance.
- It’s totally draining and no work is getting done.
- Employees are feeling bullied to quit.
We assume anyone working in AOL’s photo department will seriously consider taking the company’s voluntary buyout offer. The difference between taking the buyout and being forced out is — at the very least — two months severance.