It is no secret that journalism is a competitive field for both individuals and companies. Within the past year, several news companies have faced financial challenges that have left them resorting to job cuts and laying off employees. Buzzfeed News was not immune from the economic challenges of digital publishing, and on Apr. 20 it was announced that it would be shutting down, due to a series of layoffs throughout every division of Buzzfeed and a lack of funds to keep the outlet going.
Buzzfeed News was formed in 2012 and has since earned a Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting in 2021 and has been a four-time Pulitzer finalist. However, Chief Executive Jonah Peritti announced a series of job cuts the company would be experiencing in an email sent to employees on Apr. 20. This announcement included the closing of Buzzfeed News, which will affect approximately 60 employees of Buzzfeed’s 1,200. Some of these employees will be offered other opportunities in different parts of the company. However, Peritti also announced that the company will cut another 120 people across a variety of its teams.
As mentioned before, Buzzfeed News is one of many companies facing financial setbacks. Vox Media announced in January that it would be cutting approximately 7% of workers due to unforeseen economic changes. Meanwhile, also on Apr. 20, Insider announced that it will be cutting approximately 10% of its employees which will affect over 100 individuals working for the company.
The closing of Buzzfeed News, however, is not a surprise if one is to look at the empire the company was built on: trends. The media outlet often focused solely on trends such as social sharing, therefore it did not invest the time into other methods of earning revenue. Peritti acknowledged this mistake in his email and stated that, “I’ve learned from these mistakes, and the team moving forward has learned from them as well.”
Despite the closure of Buzzfeed News, Buzzfeed will continue to publish news on Huffpost, another media outlet that the company bought in 2020. Peritti claims that Huffpost, unlike Buzzfeed News, is profitable and is less dependent on social media platforms. However, the company is planning to keep all Buzzfeed News stories archived on its website.