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Jack Shafer says he received a severance from Slate — he was laid off Wednesday, along with Tim Noah, June Thomas, and Juliet Lapidos — and was asked to continue writing as a freelancer. “I’ve accepted,” he tells Dylan Byers, but “it won’t be press coverage. I’ll stir up the press animals in another venue.” (“I hope we hire Shafer,” tweets Reuters social media editor Anthony DeRosa, “cause somebody sure as hell will.”)
Why was he let go? “It was a decision made for financial and editorial future reasons,” says Slate editor David Plotz. “Jack is obviously a brilliant journalist.” Eric Wemple writes:
Plotz says that Shafer has been a “great colleague and great friend over many years” but clams up when probed for something more. And Shafer says that he was “happy for David to be my boss, and he’s been a good boss” but clams up when probed for something more.
Neither is much for sentimentality. Perhaps that explains why there won’t be one of those “so long” pieces when Shafer finishes up at Slate on Sept. 2. “Farewell columns are bush league,” he says.
American Journalism Review editor Rem Rieder, who put a Shafer profile just before the Slate layoffs were announced, wonders why the online publication axed “someone who is performing at such a high level? …. This is a truly befuddling and disappointing decision.” || Earlier stories:
> Shafer says he gets up at 2 a.m. to read front pages of major papers
> Why Shafer once considered changing the name of his column to “Litter Box”
> Shafer discovers NYT plagiarism while hunting for “Stupidest Drug Story”