4:13 pm Jan. 16, 2012
Gannett Co. has shuttered the New York arm of the local entertainment and nightlife network, Metromix, Capital has learned.
The New York Metromix editor, Kirk Miller, broke the news to his writers this afternoon in an email. It was unclear whether any of the Metromix sites in other cities had met a similar fate.
UPDATE: In response to an inquiry from Capital Monday afternoon, a Gannett spokeswoman told us Monday evening: "Some Metromix employees in editorial, advertising sales, administration and business operations were notified that their positions have been eliminated today. ... The Metromix New York site will continue to feature entertainment news and information for local consumers. We are evaluating all of our options going forward but no decisions have been made at this time."
The expectation is that the New York offering will in the short term begin to operate in the mold of the company's various "Express Metromix" sites, which aggregate content from other sources, thus eliminating the need for dedicated staff in their respective cities.
"I don't believe they'll keep it up beyond a few months," a person familiar with the matter said of Metromix New York. "It's not going away tomorrow, but there's no way they're keeping it up. And updates to the site will be minimal."
Metromix was originally launched by The Chicago Tribune as a "youth-oriented listings site," according to the Associated Press, but was expanded into other national markets in a joint venture between the Tribune Co. and Gannett in 2007. "The two companies' business relationship later changed, but Tribune continued to operate Metromix Chicago independently, where it originated, and under the Chicago Tribune Media Group umbrella," said a Tribune spokeswoman. Asked what other Metromix markets Tribune still oversees, she would only say: "Chicago is the only operation of its kind under the Tribune umbrella." The Metromix parent website currently lists 65 sites nationwide; the Gannett spokeswoman said 26 of these are operated by Gannett. Neither spokeswoman could confirm exactly when or how the Tribune-Gannett Metromix partnership ended.
"We are evaluating all of our options and the performance of the remaining Metromix markets to determine next steps," the Gannett spokeswoman said.
Miller, the outgoing New York editor, for his part, declined to comment. But here's his farewell memo to Metromix New York staff and freelancers:
HI there comrades
Well, Metromix NY is no more. I can’t say I’m surprised….that said, it’s not a good day here.
What you can do (besides helping your awesome friend Kirk find an editor/writer/manager job):
If you’ve done work for us in January, you will get paid as normal. Will have more info shortly on who to send stuff to. Probably my boss Gina Bittner (for those of you who know Gina, she’ll be here for another 60 days. If you’ve worked with anyone in LA, they were given 30 days. Bleh.)
If you’ve written an article or taken a photo that we haven’t used yet…invoice us normally. I can’t guarantee the people left won’t ask questions, but I’m pretty sure they won’t. Please be honest…the people left here (or, in Chicago) are super nice and none of this was their fault.
If you haven’t turned something in or had plans to shoot or write something in the near future but haven’t done so…don’t! It won’t go on the site. Sorry. That means listings, concert photos, Hot Plates, etc. I’d also suggest you almost immediately start finding your work on the site and saving it on your hard drive, because the site may disappear very soon
Finally, come to [location redacted] tonight to celebrate MMX freelancer Jen Maler’s birthday!
Metromix New York
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that the decision to close Metromix New York was made jointly by Tribune Co. and Gannett. A Tribune spokesperson contacted us to clarify that Tribune Co. no longer has any affiliation with the New York site: "Metromix Chicago continues to thrive and Gannett’s business decisions in other markets have no impact whatsoever on Metromix operations in Chicago or any other Tribune markets." This item was also updated to reflect subsequent comments from a Gannett spokeswoman.