Tim de Lisle, former editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly and currently editor of Wisden Online, has lost his job, along with four other members of the website’s eight-strong London staff.
Wisden Online chief executive Robin Bevan and the board – on which de Lisle sits – made the decision about redundancies while he was absent. De Lisle is consulting lawyers.
Staff first heard of the job losses on Monday of last week and most of them left this week. Going are managing editor Martin Williamson, assistant editor Tanya Aldred, assistant editor Lawrence Booth and associate editor, Camilla Rossiter.
The board at first decided to do away with all online editorial, say sources, determining to rely instead on archive material taken from the 15,000 pages of Wisden’s Almanack, which dates back to 1864, as well as statistics and webcasts. But it has pulled back from that and offered the site’s director, Steven Lynch, the job of head of content.
Last December, it was decided to fund the site through subscriptions and it has a user base running into five figures.
De Lisle, who had edited Wisden Online since its launch last August after a three-year association with The Guardian’s Cricket Unlimited website, said they had been trying to match the quality of the magazine’s editorial at web speed.
"It’s very disappointing to have been given only four months to see if we could make subscription work, especially as other sites are now heading in that direction," he commented.
"The staff completely understand the board’s desire to make savings. I just wish that I had been properly consulted, rather than these things being done behind my back.
"One of the reasons it is a pleasure to work for Wisden is that the company traditionally takes the long view but in this case there seems to have been an attack of myopia."
Bevan said the site had been up and running for six months but figures were not so encouraging in some areas as others. "It is a shift in emphasis," he said. "It does involve redundancies but also the creation of new positions and some investment."
By Jean Morgan