When you hear of journalistic treasures like Nic Mokhoff, Barbara Jorgenson and Bolaji Ojo going out the door at a media house, you tend to think the worse for the company. I know I did after hearing about the "spring cleaning" at UBM. Closer inspection, however, shows the reasoning behind the move.
UBM Electronics seems to be in a constant state of change over the past decade because the media world has been evolving rapidly over that time. The latest obvious change is the elimination of the print version of EE Times, in favor of an all online presence. The problem is that there have been, essentially two staffs for the online and print operations. When the latter was shut down, that left a lot of redundancy and unnecessary cost (from an accounting perspective).
EE Times and EBN have built a significant infrastructure out of contractors, including Brian Bailey, Max Maxfield and Douglas Alexander, to provide content. They are prolific and, well, inexpensive.
Brian Fuller is, arguably, the guy with the greatest wealth of experience and ability on the paid staff, having served as reporter, editor, publisher, EiC, bureau chief as well as a varied career outside of the organization. He's got a strong understanding of how new media works and a rare understanding of what it takes to work with publications from the outside. He can be plugged into almost any position and make it work.
Rick Merritt, who has been operating without portfolio but will be taking over Brian's position as SV Bureau Chief, can cover just about any kind of technology in the valley, will fit into that position like a hand in a glove. The rest of the positons at UBM Electronics are in solid hands. That leaves a surplus of talent; people who are great journalists who can observe and write on technology subjects on a deep level. And in this economy, surpluses are luxuries.
Anne Francoise Pele will be taking over the Automotive Design Line from Brian and Brian will still handle the Drive for Automation, but EE Life is yet to be decided. I'm wondering if it will exist in 6 months at all, considering it was created when UBM brought Brian back from the dark side and teamed him with Sylvie Barak (one of the casualties) and Karen Field, who now sits atop the group as the director of content.
Things are looking better in our economy, but tough decisions still have to be made.