BuzzFeed is shutting down its news operation, CEO Jonah Peretti told staff Thursday.
An internal email obtained by the independent informed staff of the decision to shut down the news division and cut its business, content, technology and administration teams by 15 percent, affecting some 180 jobs.
“While layoffs are taking place in nearly every division, we have determined that the company can no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News as an independent organization,” he told staff.
In the email, Peretti said he was overinvested in BuzzFeed News “because I love their work and their mission.”
“This made me slow to accept that the big platforms would not provide the necessary distribution or financial support to support free and premium journalism built specifically for social media,” he wrote.
BuzzFeed would focus its news efforts on HuffPost, which it bought from Verizon in 2020, he added. Buzzfeed.com, the company’s main site, will remain in place.
The digital media company had been unable to avoid the impacts of the pandemic, a tech downturn, a tough economy and a “slowing ad market,” he said.
“We have faced more challenges than I can count in recent years.”
The digital media company was founded by Mr. Peretti in 2006 and went public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in December 2021.
After the news broke around 11 a.m., BuzzFeed’s stock price plunged 16 percent to 78 cents.
Peretti conceded that the publicly traded company’s management team “could have performed better despite the challenges of the world.”
It is understood that the director of revenue, Edgar Hernández, and the director of operations, Christian Baesler, will leave the company.
The firm has started talks with the NewsGuild, a journalists’ union, about compensation packages, he said. BuzzFeed News journalists may be offered jobs at BuzzFeed.com and HuffPost.
“What a trip, 8.5 years”, BuzzFeed journalist David Mack wrote On twitter.
In 2021, the news site won a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for its coverage of the Xinjiang internment camps in China.
The tech industry has been rocked by a slowing economy, higher interest rates and global uncertainty this year.
According to Layoffs.fyi, which tracks job losses in the industry, nearly 170,000 workers have been laid off so far in 2023.
Google, Amazon, Facebook parent company Meta, and Microsoft have announced thousands of job cuts as they try to cut costs.