OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 11:54 AM – Thursday, April 20, 2023
BuzzFeed News will soon be ceasing their operations, becoming a thing of the past.
CEO and co-founder of BuzzFeed Inc., Jonah Peretti, stated in an email to colleagues that the close was part of a 15% headcount reduction across a variety of teams.
“While layoffs are occurring across nearly every division, we’ve determined that the company can no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News as a standalone organization,” the BuzzFeed CEO wrote.
Regarding BuzzFeed News, Peretti claimed to have overinvested himself “because I love their work and mission so much.”
“This made me slow to accept that the big platforms wouldn’t provide the distribution or financial support required to support premium, free journalism purpose-built for social media,” he wrote.
Peretti also mentioned that he did not put quite enough emphasis on “holding the company to higher standards for profitability” to give it a buffer during downturns.
HuffPost, which BuzzFeed acquired in 2020 and which Peretti claimed “is profitable, with a loyal direct front page audience,” will be the only news brand BuzzFeed will have going forward.
There will be a chance for affected BuzzFeed News employees to apply for “a number of select roles” at HuffPost and BuzzFeed.com. In order to discuss the cost reduction proposals and its implications for the impacted union members, Peretti said he intended to talk with the News Guild union.
After selecting long-time New York City political reporter Ben Smith as its editor-in-chief, BuzzFeed News officially debuted at the beginning of 2012. The news outlet also received a Pulitzer Prize in 2021 for a series that exposed China’s widespread Muslim incarceration.
BuzzFeed had heavily invested in its news department by hiring top journalists, establishing newsrooms, and creating bureaus all over the world. However, the corporation has abandoned that strategy in recent years and drastically reduced the size of its newsroom.
In 2021, amid a worldwide flurry of reverse mergers, many of which have subsequently lost significant value, BuzzFeed Inc. went public. The company never traded beyond the initial $10 public offering price.
On the same day that the BuzzFeed Insider announced that they will be laying off 10% of its staff, the company made its public statement. The Insider layoffs were first reported by The Daily Beast.
After Thursday’s announcement regarding the shutdown, firm shares dropped by an extra 20%, to around $0.72.
Smith alluded that BuzzFeed’s initial growth was powered by the sudden growth of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook around a decade ago.
“I do think it makes really clear the relationship between news publishers and social media is pretty much over,” said Ben Smith.
The employment layoffs highlight a broader decline in the media and technology sectors as the pandemic’s initial burst of expansion has started to rapidly slow down the economy. ESPN, Spotify, Yahoo, and Vimeo are among the many digital platforms that have similarly disclosed staff reductions.
Although there are “ongoing discussions” over the website’s future, a BuzzFeed News representative informed the press that all of the old material will be archived and available once the newsroom closes.
BuzzFeed made an announcement in January that the company will be employing artificial intelligence (AI) to produce content for its website. Following that statement, the company’s stock increased by more than 150% before eventually dropping back to its previous level, indicating the general lack of confidence in the sector.
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