Popular urban development news outlet Curbed Atlanta will be inactive for the next three months after its parent company Vox Media announced furloughs of 100 employees, including Curbed Atlanta’s sole editor, Josh Green.
“Dear Readers: This account will be dormant after tonight, at least in terms of local news. Your support of this news source and #Atlanta passion have been legendary for 9 years,” read a tweet from the website’s account.
In a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the company said it is changing its approach to Curbed, which will become a part of New York Magazine, another Vox Media publication.
“During the furlough period, we will pause the city sites for Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago and Detroit. While we’re proud of the work those sites have produced and grateful to those audiences, we are pausing them as we change our approach to Curbed,” a Vox Media spokesperson said in a statement. “We need to scale the business back to meet the needs of the business.”
The company will increase coverage in its Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco-based Curbed sites, according to a memo sent to employees.
The furloughs come as media companies across the country are struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, Vox Media launched a program for supporters to donate money to support local journalism. A separate fund was created to help furloughed Vox Media employees.
Green, 40, left the Gwinnett Daily post in 2012 to take a part-time editing position at Curbed Atlanta. The website had three contributing writers and multiple freelancers covering real estate, architectural trends, gentrification and how those things affect communities.
“It was just a beautiful, serendipitous thing in a lot of ways in that the website’s wheelhouse was urban redevelopment and issues that stem from that,” Green said. “That all just came at the right time for what was happening in Atlanta in 2012 and onward.”
In mid-April, during an evening walk, Green said he learned he was being furloughed. He called his writers and told them to “brace for the worst.”
“Obviously I understand that these are unprecedented and challenging financial times, but at the risk of sounding egotistical, I was shocked because this seemed exactly like the sort of growing resource that a city like this would need right now,” Green said.
Green isn’t sure what is next for the website’s future, but he is sure of one thing: “I’m hellbent on ensuring the eight years of building this website, forum and community won’t go to waste here.”
On Thursday, as news of the furlough spread across Twitter, several journalists and readers offered the publication support. Green has been taking it all in.
“It’s funny. In the media biz, you don’t realize when you’re in the hustle day-to-day, you can lose sight of exactly how many people you’re reaching and what a diverse swath of people they are,” he said. “And just seeing that reciprocated back for the last day has been something I’ll never forget.”