Buzzfeed is shutting down its Pulitzer Prize-winning news arm, BuzzFeed News, as part of a new wave of layoffs, BuzzFeed CEO Johan Peretti announced on Thursday.
The move comes as the company seeks to reduce its workforce by approximately 15%. Peretti explained that BuzzFeed News has faced a number of challenges in the recent past including the pandemic, a fading SPAC market that yielded less capital, a tech recession, a declining stock market, decelerating digital advertising market and ongoing audience and platform shifts. He acknowledged that dealing with all of these obstacles at once is part of why the company has needed to make the difficult decisions to eliminate more jobs and reduce spending.
While layoffs are occurring across nearly every division, BuzzFeed has signalled that it will open a number of select roles for members of BuzzFeed News at HuffPost and BuzzFeed.com. These roles will be aligned with those divisions’ business goals and match the skills and strengths of many BuzzFeed News editors and reporters.
Peretti, in a memo to his staff, noted that the big platforms wouldn’t provide the distribution or financial support required to support premium, free journalism. BuzzFeed won the Pulitzer Prize in 2021 for its coverage of China’s detention of hundreds of Uyghur Muslims.
The company is also planning to reduce budget costs by slashing travel, entertainment and other discretionary expenditures.
“Please know that we exhausted many other cost-saving measures to preserve as many jobs as possible. We are reducing budgets, open roles, travel and entertainment, and most other discretionary, non-revenue generating expenditures. Just as we reduced our footprint in NYC last year, we will be reducing our real estate in Los Angeles — from four buildings down to one, which saves millions in costs as well as mirrors our current hybrid state of work”, said Peretti.