Huge Layoffs at Cracked.com - Will its Youtube Channel Survive?

The online humour website Cracked has fired a large number of their senior writers, including every star from their Youtube series After Hours and Obsessive Pop Culture Disorder.

This comes after their parent company, Scripps, wrote down the value of the site by $35.7 million earlier this year after buying it in 2016 for $39 million.

The site itself is yet to release a statement on the layoffs, however the site's Executive Editor David Wong wrote in a forum post that the site will continue as normal with the help of existing freelancers and contributors.

There is a core group of editors still here to continue the operation and at this time we still have all contractors/freelancers doing the same stuff as they were doing before. But yes, sadly a lot of staff were let go, particularly a lot of those based on LA, including a lot of the faces you know from video.

The site will continue to publish, we still need article submissions, we still need the freelancers to keep doing their thing (more than ever, actually) but it will be a bit of a scramble in the near term as we figure out who is doing what.
— David Wong, Executive Editor Cracked.com

There is no information on the future of Cracked's Youtube channel, with several of their flagship shows now without their main characters.

After Hours, Some News, Obsessive Pop Culture Disorder and Escort mission are now without hosts. Several more untitled video formats will now require new hosts.

Some of the senior writers affected include Cody Johnston, Daniel O'Brien, Michael Swain, Katy Stoll, Katie Willert, Ian Fortey, John Cheese, Jacopo della Quercia and Josh Sargent.

This wave of layoffs comes after the site's co-founder and host of their podcast, Jack O'Brien, left the site in June this year.

More to come - subscribe to the weekly newsletter to be notified.

Keep on reading! After the break there's some analysis and a personal anecdote about the site.


From our last After Hours shoot. I love these three a whole lot.

A post shared by Katie Willert (@kawillert) on


So, what's next for Cracked? There's a bit to unpack here.

Firstly, there's three editorial sections of the company - The Site, Podcasting and Youtube.

We've seen what's next for the site earlier - it's business as usual according to the site's Executive Editor, David Wong. He is still with the company and appears fiercely committed to its future.

Its Podcasting division has undergone a restructure and expansion after Co-Founder Jack O'Brien's departure. Once a weekly podcast hosted by the Co-Founder, the site now features half a dozen series on various topics, including a revamped weekly podcast hosted by Alex Schmidt. Apart from a few hosts lost to the layoffs, this division looks mostly safe.

Finally, there's Cracked.com's Youtube channel. It has notched up an impressive two million subscribers and more than 700 million views, so it's a pretty valuable part of the company.

There is no statement on the channel's future, but a regular viewer would notice the programming has become more generic in the past year. Fewer series are being made and there is a revolving door of presenters. The channel's long-running series, its major drawcard for fans, now find themselves without their actors/presenters.

Will they be replaced with new people, like the ill-fated attempt to launch a new After Hours spinoff with new actors?

Will they dump the hit shows and focus on what's left of the channel?

Will they bring the writers back just for the shows?

It's doubtful the shows will get unceremoniously dumped and just as unlikely that the same people will host the shows. My best guess is that they will replace the cast and weather the fan backlash. After all, they persevered with Alex Schmidt's New Guy series, even after the strong negative reaction.

It's a sad day for "America's Only Humour Website Since 1958". This is a site I grew up reading, poring over its articles and learning countless pop culture tidbits from its listicles.

Lately I have only watched their Youtube series, which have become cult hits on the site, and it's extremely sad to see them be thrown out the window like this.

I hope the powers that be at Cracked let these shows have some form of closure - or at least a quiet death - but I'm not holding my breath.

 

 

 

SSM Votes are a Clear YES... so what now?

The ayes have it.

After months of respectful debate about the rights of a segment of our society, we've finally got the results - 61.6% of Australians voted yes - we should allow same sex couples to marry.

Every state and territory had a majority yes vote and 133 of 150 electorates in the country had a yes majority (though not my own electorate, Calwell, unfortunately).

If this were a referendum, it would be one of the clearest majorities we have ever seen - only six other referendums in our history have had a higher yes vote.

But this was not a referendum, it was a voluntary postal survey that's non-binding. So what does this mean now that it's all over?

Well, the results can be treated the same as any opinion poll. The progress on marriage legislation through Parliament is at the same point it was before we had the survey, only now we have another opinion poll stating the obvious:

Same Sex Marriage has had majority of support for more than a decade.

In a press conference after the results, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he wants to get the law changed by Christmas and will allow a conscience vote on the bill.

There's just two more sitting weeks of Parliament left in the year - November 27 to December 7 - so it will be a tight window.

Fundamentally, the change is a simple one - remove a clause in the Marriage Act stating that marriage is only "between a man and a woman," which was put there by John Howard in 2004, but that change is only the tip of the iceberg.

The real debate will be around the religious exemptions. Religious and conservative groups will argue for protections under the law to ensure their beliefs aren't infringed upon by other peoples' marriages.

We've already seen the dangerous side of this earlier in the week, with Victorian Liberal Senator James Paterson introducing legislation which would provide wide ranging exemptions, which are arguably discriminatory. 

But for today, it's a great victory for civil rights in Australia. With a 79.5% turnout it's one of the highest in the world for a voluntary vote on same sex marriage. It's come back with a resounding yes, and the people are rejoicing.

CNN Threatens to Dox Meme Creator, Refuses to Apologise

No, this isn't an article from The Onion.

It's been a tough year for CNN as they face steady criticism on their coverage of the US president and his administration. CNN's biggest critic, Donald Trump, tweeted an edited video from 2007 of his time in the WWE, where he wrestles Vince McMahon with a CNN logo on his head. 

It's not the first time Trump has vented his opinions of the news network, but CNN has taken the troubling action of locating the original creator of the meme and threatened to reveal the identity, or dox, the anonymous creator if he backs down on his apology.

Doxxing is often done to controversial or notorious figures on the internet where their personal information is released. This can vary between revealing someone's real name, to their contact details, or to even to their home address. This can lead to bullying, harassment, and even threats of violence.

It's a serious action, one which is usually done by malicious parties on shadier parts of the internet. A journalist's job involves finding and contacting people for news stories, so it's no surprise somebody at CNN found the real identity and contact details of this person. In their article [LINK] CNN said they emailed and called him, so they have plenty of information about him should they choose to dox him.

In the wake of the fierce criticism they have received, CNN released a statement explaining their actions, and it clarifies a few things, but raises even more questions:

CNN decided not to publish the name of the Reddit user out of concern for his safety. Any assertion that the network blackmailed or coerced him is false. The user, who is an adult male, not a 15-year-old boy, apologized and deleted his account before ever speaking with our reporter. CNN never made any deal, of any kind, with the user. In fact, CNN included its decision to withhold the user's identity in an effort to be completely transparent that there was no deal.

CNN rebuffed assertions by 4Chan and Reddit users that the meme creator is a 15 year old, clarifying that he's an adult. They also insisted the phrasing of the original article was to establish that they had made no deal to keep the man's identity a secret. Also, the user did not delete his account before speaking with the reporter.

What's missing in their statement is any form of apology. The prospect of having your identity unveiled by a national news network would be terrifying, especially when you're caught in the middle of a fight between the President and CNN. The internet isn't kind to people who are doxxed and even the slightest suggestion that they would reveal this man's identity is unacceptable.

I'm unfamiliar with the ethical frameworks of the media in the US (do they even have industry wide codes of ethics?) but the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the Australian journalism industry's professional association, has the following in their code of ethics:

11. Respect private grief and personal privacy. Journalists have the right to resist compulsion to intrude.

No doubt this story will continue to unfold over the coming days, but for now we can enjoy all the memes that Reddit and 4Chan have created in response to CNN. Hopefully they won't dox these people!