The spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the layoffs, but a Wenner staffer said the cuts occurred in the last few days and stretched across the editorial and business sides of the magazines. They were also equally weighted across all three titles, part of a shift in resources from print to digital, this person explained.
Last year, Gus Wenner, the 24-year-old son of Rolling Stone co-founder and Wenner Media owner Jann Wenner, was given control of the company's digital arm. His responsibilities extend across both the editorial and business sides of the magazines' websites.
Shifting budgets and headcount to digital is part of an ongoing trend in the magazine business as publishers chase readers and ad budgets earmarked for digital media.
Among those receiving a pink slip is veteran Rolling Stone editor David Fricke, who will continue to contribute to the magazine, the Wenner staffer indicated.
Rolling Stone's reputation was badly damaged in April after a blistering Columbia University School of Journalism report detailing the magazine's "journalistic failure" in its now-retracted story about rape on college campuses. Advertisers expressed frustration that Rolling Stone's ad-sales staff had not reached out with assurances. But the Wenner staffer said the cuts are not a result of the botched story.
The cuts add to the bad news for print this week. Lucky magazine, once a blockbuster title, has suspended it print operations.