Several dozen employees at Insight, a biweekly news magazine, and the World & I, a monthly educational journal, sister publications of the Washington Times, are out of work today as both publications wind down operations.
On April 16, the magazines’ owner, News World Communications Inc., a subsidiary of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, announced it would no longer print Insight and the World & I, as well as Noticias del Mundo, a Spanish-language newspaper in New York City, as of April 30, said News World spokeswoman Diana Banister. A total of 86 people are out of a job, out of 1,200 employees worldwide. A small staff is to stay on to maintain the Insight and World & I Web sites, editors said.
“These are the first significant layoffs in the history of News World Communications,” Banister wrote in an e-mail.
Closing the three publications will save News World “millions of dollars,” said Banister, and allow News World to “reposition” its other media assets.
News World executives announced the layoffs to employees of Insight and the World & I on April 16 at separate meetings, said staff members who attended.
At the meetings, News World executives said that the board of directors ordered the layoffs after conducting a review of the company’s publications, says Banister. In the case of Insight and the World & I, “they were competing for the same market,” Banister said. Insight had 30,000 subscribers; The World & I had 10,000.
News of the layoffs surprised many employees. “It’s a difficult time,” said World & I Associate Executive Editor Eric Olsen, who declined to comment further.
Several top managers of Insight and the World & I are looking into whether a relaunch is feasible, said Banister. The staff of Insight is also searching for a different publisher.
“I’m optimistic about finding new investors,” said Insight Managing Editor Paul Rodriguez.
News World’s reorganization would not affect any of its other outlets, which include the Washington Times, the Washington Times National Weekly Edition and United Press International. News World also plans to keep publishing Noticias del Mundo in 15 Latin American countries, as well as in Washington and Miami.
“We anticipate no changes here,” Washington Times Editor in Chief Wesley Pruden said. “They’re just redistributing some of their resources and strengthening the paper in South America. Our budget for next year is bigger than it’s ever been.”
The demise of Insight did not come as a surprise to several local magazine publishers, who noted the dearth of ad pages. The World & I did not carry advertising.
A 2002 Washington Post article reported that Insight was launched in 1985 with an annual subsidy of $40 million, and that in recent years, that figure had shrunk to about $4 million. News World executives would not comment on the level of subsidy Insight had received in the previous two years.
In its heyday, Insight was a training ground for many of today’s top conservative journalists. Among the magazine’s notable alumni are Weekly Standard Managing Editor Richard Starr, New York Post columnist John Podhoretz and author David Brock.