BuzzFeed announced that it would be closing its news site, BuzzFeed News, and cutting its workforce by 15 per cent.
BuzzFeed chief executive Jonah Peretti announced this in a memo sent to employees on Thursday, Apr. 20, 2023, which can be seen on Twitter.
BuzzFeed News was started in 2012 and won the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting in 2021.
Shut down BuzzFeed News, keep HuffPost
“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 organisation,” said Peretti in the memo.
BuzzFeed has “begun discussions with the News Guild”, the union representing the company’s staff, CNN reported.
“Moving forward, we will have a single news brand in HuffPost, which is profitable, with a loyal direct front page audience,” Peretti wrote.
In the memo, Peretti shared that the pandemic, tough economy, a declining stock market and tech recession played a role in deciding to eliminate jobs and reduce spending.
However, Peretti also admitted he could have managed the challenges better as CEO of the company.
He stated that he “overinvest[ed]” in BuzzFeed News as he loved their work and mission, making him “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 also said he regrets not holding the company to higher standards for profitability to give BuzzFeed the buffer needed to navigate economic and industry downturns.
“I’ve learned from these mistakes, and the team moving forward has learned from them as well. We know that the changes and improvements we are making today are necessary steps to building a better future,” Peretti wrote.
— Ben Mullin (@BenMullin) April 20, 2023
According to BBC, BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief Karolina Waclawiak said in her memo to staff that BuzzFeed should have tried to build a business around its news site earlier, describing its closure as “avoidable”.
Top photos via BuzzFeed News’ Facebook