BuzzFeed News shuts down as parent company cuts 15% of jobs

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BuzzFeed is shutting down its BuzzFeed News operation, with CEO Jonah Peretti writing in a company note that it “can no longer continue to fund” the site.

The company, known for its millennial-friendly site filled with viral listings and videos, said it is also cutting 15% of its employee base, or about 180 workers. BuzzFeed News is the section of the site that produces journalism and news coverage, such as recent articles on Shooting at the Sweet 16 party in Alabama.

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Peretti’s decision comes as BuzzFeed’s revenue plunged 27% in the fourth quarter, sending the company into the red. He stressed the challenges the company faces in the memo, which was sent Thursday morning to his employees, adding that BuzzFeed should cut jobs and reduce spending as a result.

“We’ve faced more challenges than I can count in the past few years: a pandemic, a fading SPAC market that results in less capital, a tech recession, a tough economy, a flailing stock market, a sluggish digital ad market, constant audience and platform shifts,” Peretti wrote in the note. , which was shared with CBS MoneyWatch.

He added, “I made the decision to overinvest in BuzzFeed News because I love their work and their mission so much.”

The company said there are “ongoing discussions about the future of” but that it plans to keep the division operating on the site.

“There are no jobs to be replaced by AI”

BuzzFeed has begun leveraging artificial intelligence to write quizzes and articles, some with the title “Buzzy the Robot”. Some of the pieces focus on travel, with Buzzy suggesting sites like Stanley, Idahowhich it deemed “a small-town slice of outdoor adventure”.

“No jobs have been replaced by AI,” the company told CBS MoneyWatch.

She added that BuzzFeed and its subsidiary HuffPost will offer roles to some BuzzFeed News journalists, while the company also begins discussions with the News Guild about layoffs.

Read Peretti’s memo in full below.


I am writing to announce some difficult news. We are reducing our workforce by approximately 15% today across our business, content, technology, and moderator teams, and are beginning the process of closing BuzzFeed News. In addition, we are proposing headcount reductions in certain international markets.

Affected employees (other than those at BuzzFeed News) will receive an email from Human Resources shortly. If you are receiving this note from me, you will not be affected by the changes of the day. For BuzzFeed News, we have begun discussions with the news syndicate about these actions.

As part of today’s changes, CRO Edgar Hernandez and Christian Baesler have both made the decision to exit the company. I am grateful to both of them for their passion and dedication to Complex and BuzzFeed, Inc. Christian will be with us until the end of April, and Edgar until the end of May to help with the transition.

Marcella Martin, our President, will assume responsibility for all revenue functions effective immediately. In the US, Andrew Jingwian is our new Chief Sales Officer, and Ken Blum will continue in his role as Chief Revenue Operations. Globally, International Sales will transition under the leadership of Rich Reed, Chief International Affairs Officer and Head of Studio, who also reports to Marcella.

I have great confidence in this revenue leadership team, and the initial plans I’ve seen from them to accelerate performance from our business organization. We’ll be sharing more about their plans at Business All Hands next week (and expanding on a company-wide call).

The changes the business organization is making today focus on reducing the layers in its organization, increasing the speed and effectiveness of promotions, streamlining our product mix, doubling the number of creators, and rolling out AI improvements in every aspect of our sales process.

While layoffs are happening in nearly every department, we’ve determined that the company can no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News as a stand-alone organization. As a result, we will be communicating with the news union about plans to cut costs and what this will mean for affected union members.

HuffPost and BuzzFeed Dot Com have indicated that they will open a number of select roles to BuzzFeed News members. These roles will align with the business objectives of these departments and align with the skills and strengths of the many editors and reporters at BuzzFeed News. We raised this idea with the News Guild this morning and look forward to discussing it further. From now on, we’ll have one HuffPost news brand that’s profitable, with a loyal front-page live audience.

I want to explain more about why we came to these deeply painful decisions. We’ve faced more challenges than I can count in the past few years: a pandemic, a fading SPAC market that results in less capital, a tech recession, a tough economy, a flailing stock market, a sluggish digital ad market, and constant audience and platform shifts. Dealing with all of these hurdles at once is part of why we need to make the tough decisions to cut more jobs and reduce spending.

But I also want to be clear: I could have managed these changes better as the CEO of this company and our leadership team could have done better despite the circumstances. Our mission is to adapt, change, improve and perform in spite of the challenges in the world. We can and will do better.

In particular, the BuzzFeed and Complex integration process, uniting our two business organizations, was supposed to go faster and better. The macro environment is challenging, but we had the ability to generate significantly more revenue than we delivered over the last 12 months.

Additionally, I made the decision to overinvest in BuzzFeed News because I love their work and mission so much. This has made me slower to accept that the big platforms will not provide the distribution or financial backing required to support premium, free journalism tailored to social media.

More broadly, I regret not holding the company to higher standards of profitability, to provide us with the reserve needed to manage economic and industrial downturns and avoid painful days like today. Our mission, our impact on culture, and our audience are most important, but we need stronger action to protect and sustain this important work.

Please know that we have exhausted many other cost saving measures to keep as many jobs as possible. We cut budgets, open roles, travel and entertainment, and most other non-income-producing discretionary expenses. Just as we reduced our footprint in New York City last year, we will reduce our properties in Los Angeles – from four buildings to one, saving millions in costs as well as reversing our current mixed business state.

I’ve learned from those mistakes, and the team moving forward has learned from them, too. We know that the changes and improvements we make today are necessary steps to build a better future.

Over the next two months, we will work together to run a more agile and focused business organization with the ability to generate more revenue. We will focus our news efforts at HuffPost, a profitable brand with a highly engaged and loyal audience and less reliant on social platforms. We will empower our editorial teams across all of our brands to do the best creative work and create a showcase where that work can be compiled and presented to advertisers most effectively. And we will bring more innovation to customers in the form of creators, artificial intelligence, and cultural moments that can only happen across BuzzFeed, Complex, HuffPost, Tasty, and First We Feast.

We may not feel that way today, but I am confident that the future of digital media is ours. Our industry is damaged and ready to be reborn. We are taking great pains today, and we will begin to make our way to a bright future.

On Monday we’ll start having conversations with each department about how we can move forward. In the meantime, I hope you guys will take some time for yourselves this weekend.

Thank you for supporting each other on a difficult day.