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BuzzFeed News is 'beginning the process' to shut down, CEO tells employees

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BuzzFeed is shutting down its news operations, CEO Jonah Peretti told employees on Thursday.

an internal email received by Independent Notified employees of the decision to close the news division and reduce its business, content, technology and admin teams by 15 percent, affecting approximately 180 jobs.

He told employees, “While layoffs are occurring in nearly every division, we have determined that the company cannot continue to operate BuzzFeed News as a standalone organization.”

In the email, Mr Peretti said he has invested heavily in BuzzFeed News “because I love their work and mission so much”.

“It slows me down to accept that the big platforms will not provide the necessary distribution or financial support to support the premium, free journalism social media has created for,” he wrote.

He said BuzzFeed would focus its news efforts on HuffPost, which it bought from Verizon in 2020. The company’s flagship site, Buzzfeed.com, will remain in place.

He said the digital media company has been unable to overcome the effects of the pandemic, a tech recession, a tough economy and a “declining advertising market”.

“We’ve faced more challenges than we can count over the years.”

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti notified employees Thursday that he is closing the news division, affecting about 180 jobs

(Reuters)

The digital media company was founded by Mr. Peretti in 2006, and went public in December 2021 through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

After the news broke at around 11 a.m., BuzzFeed’s share price fell 16 percent to 78 cents.

Mr Peretti acknowledged that the publicly listed company’s leadership team “could have done better despite the challenges in the world”.

The firm has started discussions with the NewsGuild, a journalists’ union, about a compensation package, he said.

“What a ride, 8.5 years,” BuzzFeed journalist David Mack wrote on Twitter.

In 2021, the news site won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for its coverage of China’s Xinjiang internment camps.

The tech industry has been shaken this year by a slowing economy, high interest rates and global uncertainty.

About 170,000 workers are projected to lose their jobs so far in 2023, according to Layoffs.fyi, which tracks job losses in the industry.

Google, Amazon, Facebook’s parent company Meta and Microsoft have announced thousands of job cuts as they try to cut costs.