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Sources: Heavy layoffs at PlanetOut

Staff cuts of at least a third could be related to the merger between the leading LGBT media organization and two competitors.

Everyone knows that many media organizations are struggling, and now the latest evidence comes from PlanetOut, where as many as a third of the staff were laid off this week.

The first word of the reductions at the popular lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender news and entertainment network came Monday via the prolific The Media is Dying Twitter feed, which aggregates reports of layoffs and staff moves across the media industry.

"PlanetOut has axed 50 percent of the work force--includes sales and editorial," The Media is Dying wrote.

In response to a request for comment, PlanetOut spokesperson Angelina Becerra said that the company had no comment.

But on January 8, PlanetOut issued a press release announcing that it was merging with its competitors Here Networks and Regent Entertainment Media, the publishers of LGBT magazines The Advocate, Out, and HIVPlus.

One PlanetOut contractor, however, confirmed that layoffs were handed down Monday--effective this Friday--and that at least a third of the company's work force had been let go.

And a former PlanetOut employee who has been gone from the company for some time also confirmed the cuts and the time frame.

It would hardly be surprising that a newly merged entity combining three media outlets with complementary coverage areas would let a significant number of people go. Whether that's really behind the move at PlanetOut is not yet known. Either way, for those following the media industry, seeing yet more numbers added to the unemployment rolls can only be disquieting.

CNET News reporter Ina Fried contributed to this report.