TBD.com, the high-profile Washington, D.C. news site that launched in August, is embarking on a massive round of layoffs, it was reported Wednesday. The site's editor, Erik Wemple, told the Washington City Paper that TBD will now become "a niche site on arts and entertainment," meaning that it is abandoning its attempt to be a local news site.
The Washington Business Journal reported that Albritton, the company which owns TBD, is eliminating the majority of the jobs at the site. "All but a handful" of the around two dozen staffers will be let go, the WBJ wrote.
The website WeLoveDC later reported that all of the news and sports reporters, as well as the social media team, is being fired.
The moves come two weeks after Albritton television station WJLA assumed control of TBD.
The layoffs mark a somewhat ignominious end to the first phase of TBD, which was launched with a roster of heavy-hitting editors and many lofty promises. The site made a big initial splash in the journalism community, which has been waiting to see whether a purely local news site can be financially successful--and which was optimistic that TBD, with its relatively deep pockets and connection to sister site Politico, could lead the way for local online journalism.