BuzzFeed News to shut down

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti. (Photo by: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

BuzzFeed is shutting down its BuzzFeed News division as part of wider layoffs across the company, CEO Jonah Peretti revealed in a memo Thursday morning.

Why it matters: The venerated news division, which won multiple awards including a Pulitzer Prize, has struggled for years to be profitable.

Details: "We are reducing our workforce by approximately 15% today across our Business, Content, Tech and Admin teams, and beginning the process of closing BuzzFeed News," Peretti wrote in the memo, which was obtained by Axios.

  • The staff cuts will affect around 180 people, including chief revenue officer Edgar Hernandez and chief operating officer Christian Baesler. BuzzFeed's president Marcela Martin will take over revenue duties.
  • Peretti essentially took the blame for not better navigating the slowdown in ad spending and challenging macroeconomy and for failing to hold the company "to higher standards for profitability."
  • "I made the decision to overinvest in BuzzFeed News 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."

What's next: BuzzFeed is consolidating its news operations within HuffPost.

  • BuzzFeed and HuffPost will offer roles to some BuzzFeed News staffers.

The big picture: Once a digital media darling, BuzzFeed has become a cautionary tale for its peers, largely for its decision to go public via SPAC in 2021, and merge with Complex Networks.

  • Thursdays layoffs are latest in a string of mass job cuts across media over the past year, including multiple rounds of cuts at BuzzFeed. It offered voluntary buyouts to about one-third of the 100 news division employees last year.
  • BuzzFeed's stock price plummeted on Thursday, dropping by more than 23% to 71 cents per share, flirting with its all-time low of 69 cents. BuzzFeed has lost more than 90% of its stock price since its listing in late 2021.

What they're saying: Former and current BuzzFeed staffers lamented the loss of BuzzFeed News on Twitter.

  • "BuzzFeed News deserved so much better, and has for a long time," tweeted Tom Namako, former deputy editor-in-chief at BuzzFeed News who left last year to join NBC News.
  • "BuzzFeed News funneled venture capital into something genuinely very useful and necessary: High-quality reporting freely available for anyone to read. It was the envy of every reporter who entered journalism in the chaotic 2010s and didn't work there. What a loss," tweeted HuffPost senior reporter Alexander Kaufman.

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