SaltWire Media, an operating company of the national digital news publisher SaltWire News, announced a voluntary buyout program on Thursday. The move was announced in an email sent to employees, according to multiple reports. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the buyout terms posted on its website, staff members will receive, “Cash in hand, up to 18 months of health insurance, and deferred or continued vacation days.” No specific amount of money has been offered.
The move comes as executives discuss various business strategies, including an expansion into mobile journalism and an ongoing conflict with ad agencies who the company says are trying to “oversubscribe” its paywall at a time when it has a significant number of total uniques.
On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the company was nearing an agreement with a multi-national ad agency for a way to compensate subscribers who will stand by an online news website with an issue of its website that delivers free access. Ad sales teams had been talking to the largest account targeting the subscription company for years, and they were close to a deal that would allow users to buy access at a discounted rate, according to The Journal. But the company’s site grew too large for the size of the ad revenue it could earn from the deal.
The plan to make money from its free subscribers comes after the company received threats from an agency that it allegedly called the “Bureau of Internet Entrepreneurs,” which argued that it would expose readers to spam and misinformation, according to The Journal. When SaltWire refused to help the agency get users to share those concerns, it allegedly threatened to disclose their email addresses to SaltWire’s competitors.
SaltWire is owned by Scott Rose, a former Fox News executive. The company released the following statement through a spokesperson.
The vendor that currently provides SaltWire with some of its advertising has been unwilling to work with us to deliver what it should be doing to our users. In the past year, we have made progress in our market and we are very excited about our future. We appreciate all of our SaltWire community members and look forward to continuing to have a vibrant relationship with the community of tech journalists and online information creators.
Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.
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