Fire Writers, Make Videos Is Latest Web Recipe for Publishers

Mic, a website aimed at millennials, used to employ 40 writers and editors producing articles on topics like “celebrating beauty” and “strong women.” Ten were let go this month, with most in the revamped newsroom of 63 now focused on making videos for places like Facebook.

Critics have called such moves “100 percent cynical” and out of sync with audience demand. Yet Americans are watching more video snippets online, either because they secretly like them or because they’re getting harder to avoid. The growing audience for video, more valuable to advertisers than the space next to words, is causing websites to shift resources in what’s become known across the industry as the pivot to video.

“When you think about how many hours people spend watching video versus reading, the audience has already spoken,” said Chris Altchek, chief executive officer of Mic. The outlet’s viewers spend 75 percent of their time with “visual” content like videos, not text, he said.

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