February 23, 2011

Just two weeks after it was announced that Allbritton’s WJLA-TV would be taking over TBD.com, news broke today that most TBD staffers are being laid off.

The Washington Business Journal reported that “all but a handful of the two dozen or so current positions will be eliminated within the next four to six weeks, with TBD.com employees eligible to apply for eight available jobs, said the employee who asked not to be identified.”

TBD Editor Erik Wemple told Washington City Paper that “TBD will become a niche site on arts and entertainment” and that it will have a “big new presence” on WJLA.com.

Though there hasn’t yet been an official announcement about whose jobs will be eliminated, some staffers have been tweeting about the news and their search for a new position.

Social Media Producer Mandy Jenkins tweeted, “I quit my job & moved 500+ miles for an experiment I was pretty excited about. Now I’m looking for work again. Oh journalism, you slay me.”

Community host Daniel Victor expressed similar sentiments: “Soooo…who’s hiring these days? I hear wonderful things about the job market.”

Here’s a look at the brief history of TBD, which launched six months ago.

Oct. 29, 2009 — Albritton to hire dozens for new D.C. site
Brady: ‘You can’t take 10 people and create a local site as a business’

March 29, 2010
Brady: There is money to be made on mobile

April 15, 2010 — New hires announced for D.C. site, including community engagement team
Brady: New D.C. site to rely on 3 things for delivering news on every block

April 22, 2010 — Editor Erik Wemple comes up with TBD
Allbritton’s new D.C. news site now has a name

May 13, 2010
Civil Beat, TBD model how to start a news operation from scratch

Aug. 6, 2010
Four key questions that TBD could answer about online news

Aug. 9, 2010 — TBD.com launches

Chat Replay: TBD editors discuss decisions in building D.C.-area news site

TBD launches after being under construction for nearly a year

Aug. 13, 2010
What Shafer likes most about TBD is its ‘tabloidy goodness’

Aug. 17, 2010
TBD iPhone app launches

Oct. 10, 2010
How Amanda Hess, TBD showed commitment to accuracy when responding to correction

Nov. 5, 2010 — Jim Brady, TBD part ways
Brady: Multiple, minor disagreements led to resignation

Dec. 1, 2010 — TBD ends ad sales for blog network
TBD was serving ads on about 25 percent of 200+ local blogs (Lost Remote)

Dec. 14, 2010
TBD team describes what “engagement” means to them

Feb. 9, 2011 — WJLA takes over TBD
General Manager Bill Lord becomes responsible for website

Feb. 16, 2011 — WJLA’s Bill Lord explains TBD decision
Lord on TBD’s future: ‘We need to be more cost conscious, and we need more page views

Feb. 23, 2011 — Most TBD jobs to be eliminated
Report: Dozens are laid off

TBD to become niche sites on arts and entertainment

Julie Moos contributed to this report.

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Mallary Tenore Tarpley is a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication and the associate director of UT’s Knight…
Mallary Tenore Tarpley

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