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Everything You Need to Know About the BuzzFeed News Closure

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
BuzzFeed layoffs will affect 15% of its workforce as the media company is shifting to focus its news efforts on HuffPost moving forward.

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti announced Thursday that the media company is shutting down its BuzzFeed News division and reducing its workforce by 15%, which approximately rounds out to 180 employees.

The cutback news was delivered to Buzzfeed’s workforce in a memo, where Peretti also announced that the company would be focusing its news efforts exclusively on HuffPost since the brand is profitable and has an engaging and loyal audience. Some BuzzFeed News staffers may find new roles at HuffPost and BuzzFeed.com, but there’s no guarantee that impacted employees will continue working under BuzzFeed’s wing.

A trusted anonymous BuzzFeed staffer exclusively told Boardroom that morale is pretty low at the media company today.

“Buzzfeed News won a Pulitzer in 2021 for its reporting, so this is just another sign that investigative journalism just doesn’t appear to be as important to the people that run newsrooms anymore,” the source told us. “It often feels like, if it isn’t making money, then it’s not worth investing in. Some employees across the brand are asking if it’s worth even being at a media company that can gut its entire newsroom.”

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Peretti admitted in the memo that he could have managed the pandemic and economic challenges better as the CEO to avoid a big transition like this.

“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,” Peretti said in the memo. “As a result, we will engage with the News Guild about our cost reduction plans and what this will mean for the affected union members.”

The layoffs ultimately affect BuzzFeed’s business, content, tech, and admin teams. There will also be some proposed staff cutbacks in some international markets. The BuzzFeed News closure came about because the brand was struggling to be profitable and attract financial support. Peretti said he over-invested in the 11-year-old news brand and that BuzzFeed exhausted other cost-saving measures before deciding to do layoffs across the board. He also notes that BuzzFeed News’ success was highly dependent on social platforms, and HuffPost’s is not.

“The Buzzfeed News closure is just a reminder that very few newsrooms are ‘safe,’ and can be shuttered at the whims of CEOs and newsroom leaders at what seems like any time,” an anonymous source told Boardroom. “It’s important to be sober about that fact because this is the field we are in – but it is terrible that the people who are responsible for the mess that we’re in (like our current CEO) are allowed to stay on despite their failures and award-winning journalists are let go.”

Peretti admitted in the memo that he could have managed the pandemic and economic challenges better as the CEO to avoid a big transition like this. The layoffs ultimately affect BuzzFeed’s business, content, tech, and admin teams. There will also be some proposed staff cutbacks in some international markets. The BuzzFeed News closure came about because the brand was struggling to be profitable and attract financial support. Peretti said he overinvested in the 11-year-old news brand and that BuzzFeed exhausted other cost-saving measures before deciding to do layoffs across the board. He also notes that BuzzFeed News’ success was highly dependent on social platforms, and HuffPost’s is not.

With this news, BuzzFeed’s CRO Edgar Hernandez and COO Christian Baesler will be leaving the company by the end of May. The media company’s executive team made some necessary shifts to cover the two roles with the staffers they have for now.

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About The Author
Michelai Graham
Michelai Graham
Michelai Graham is Boardroom's resident tech and crypto reporter. Before joining 35V, she was a freelance reporter with bylines in AfroTech, HubSpot, The Plug, and Lifewire, to name a few. At Boardroom, Michelai covers Web3, NFTs, crypto, tech, and gaming. Off the clock, you can find her producing her crime podcast, The Point of No Return.