Grindr's Publication Into Lays Off Editorial Staff In Pivot To Video

Employees called the shift “a tremendous loss for LGBTQ media, journalism, and the world.”

Into, a digital magazine owned by Grindr focused on LGBTQ issues, announced Tuesday it had laid off its editorial staff and social media team to refocus on video. 

The decision was “driven by the high user engagement and development we see through channels such as Twitter and YouTube,” a Grindr representative told HuffPost in an emailed statement. “With this strategic shift in focus, several Into employees will be leaving the company.”

Meanwhile, Into’s editorial staff ― including managing editor Trish Bendix, associate editor Mary Emily O’Hara and politics reporter Nico Lang ― released a goodbye letter of their own. They called the news “a tremendous loss for LGBTQ media, journalism, and the world.”

LGBTQ advocacy groups and media professionals also expressed regrets on social media. 

The news follows the December departure of Into’s editor-in-chief, Zach Stafford. He joins The Advocate as editor-in-chief this month. 

Grindr launched Into in August 2017 as part of the gay dating app’s efforts to reframe itself as a lifestyle brand. A number of other social apps, including Tinder and Bumble, have also launched (or are in the process of launching) news outlets and blogging platforms.

“We want Into to give people an understanding of the gay world, from a global perspective,” Grindr founder Joel Simkhai told Forbes in 2017. “It’s quite ambitious but we like to do things big and we like to positively impact the community.”

The publication itself made headlines last fall with an article citing a Facebook post in which Grindr’s owner Scott Chen appeared to oppose same-sex marriage. Reporting from that Nov. 30 article was referenced by a number of mainstream outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post

Chen responded by distancing himself from the remarks, which were based on a translated version of a since-deleted Facebook status originally written in Chinese. But Landon Rafe Zumwalt, who served as Grindr’s head of communications, resigned days later, saying he “refused to compromise my own values or professional integrity to defend a statement that goes against everything I am and everything I believe.”