In an email sent by CEO Jonah Peretti, Buzzfeed staff company-wide were notified that their news wing would be shuttering. This change will accompany a layoff of 15% of its workforce, which is roughly 180 employees. A lack of profit in the present financial climate has led to this drastic change and round of layoffs. Instead, the company will be folding its news efforts into its newly acquired HuffPost, which seems to have a loyal following to support continued growth and profit.
Speaking to the missteps that led to this decision, Peretti went on to state in the email: “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.”
Peretti went on to state that there will be a focus on innovation across all platforms, including Buzzfeed, Complex, Tasty, etc., and that AI will become integral to their core functioning, although AI will not be used to replace jobs.
Of note, this reshuffling of Buzzfeed comes roughly one year after financial news outlet CNBC reported that investors were urging Peretti to shutter the new wing.
Karolina Waclawiak, Buzzfeed News’ editor-in-chief, took to Twitter to wish her former staff well: “It was an honor and privilege to lead @BuzzFeedNews. I’ve spent 7+ years of my career working alongside the most talented and generous people in journalism. We changed the culture. We changed laws. Hire them all.”
Peretti said that many of the staff from Buzzfeed News would have opportunities to move to roles within HuffPost or Buzzfeed.com.
Buzzfeed News did realize some high praise and accolades during its short run as a cultural force. In 2021, a series reporting on the detainment of Uighur Muslims in China earned Buzzfeed News a Pulitzer Prize.
Many platforms in the tech industry are experiencing rounds of layoffs and restructuring as well, with a report that Insider – formerly Business Insider – would also be cutting 10% of its workforce around the same time that news of Buzzfeed News’ shuttering came to light.