Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti sent a company wide email regarding the shut down of Buzzfeed’s News division this morning. In the memo, Peretti explained that the company would be prioritizing news coverage through another organization they own, HuffPost. Buzzfeed also owns the popular First We Feast, which produces “Hot Ones” hosted by Sean Evans.
BREAKING: BuzzFeed news is shutting down. @peretti’s memo: pic.twitter.com/k3vGnHOkcl
— Ben Mullin (@BenMullin) April 20, 2023
Peretti claimed to have “exhausted many other cost saving measures” before making the ultimate decision to cut the news division. Buzzfeed News currently has reporters based in Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., and other cities. Reporters are coming forward on social media to express their own shock at the news, which several claim came without warning.
Kelsey Weekman, Buzzfeed News’ Internet Culture Reporter, expressed that the company is currently unclear on when each respective reporter’s final days will be. Weekman has covered the internet’s changing role in several different spheres, from entertainment and pop culture to legal battles.
still trying to figure out exactly when this job ends but thank you all very much for your kind responses. im so sad. this was my dream job. please please email me with any job leads ([email protected]) & subscribe to my newsletterhttps://t.co/00z1fcLzgs
— kelsey weekman (@kelsaywhat) April 20, 2023
Ellie Hall, a Senior Reporter for Buzzfeed News based out of Washington, D.C., has long covered the rise of extremism on internet platforms, uncovering how hate speech slips through the cracks. Hall is documenting her experience with being laid off from the company after 10 years. During her tenure with Buzzfeed, the News team won several Pulitzer prizes.
— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) April 20, 2023
The company was initially founded in 2006, and built a massive online following from its varied pop culture content, ranging from quizzes to celebrity interviews with puppies. The company’s creative division jumpstarted the careers of several hosts and actors, including Quinta Brunson of “Abbott Elementary” and “The Try Guys.”
Some social media users are blaming the company’s branding for the shutter of Buzzfeed News. The differentiation between the reporting and creative content has long been blurred by some internet users. Reporters are taking to Twitter to clarify that Buzzfeed’s news reporting is what will end, and not the entire company.
this comment illustrates Buzzfeed's longstanding branding issue. the part of Buzzfeed that makes this content is still going to exist. Buzzfeed NEWS is shutting down, and they didn't create content like this.
the "not a news story" part of the company is the one that's surviving https://t.co/v2SHLtspb0
— Gene Park (@GenePark) April 20, 2023
Buzzfeed News was founded to take a more serious angle on covering the ethics of the internet. Since its inception, Buzzfeed has acquired Complex, Huffpost, and Tasty, all of which are home to numerous successful digital projects. Peretti insinuated that part of the reason for the termination of the News division was these acquisitions.
Some social media users are blaming what they allege were poor investments for the loss of a full newsroom of Pulitzer-prize winners.
Peretti will never admit it, but the cause of BuzzFeed News' demise is right there. It's a painfully familiar story in the news business: The CEO chased short-term capital gains, and when the very obvious bubble burst, journalists bore the brunt of the fallout. pic.twitter.com/h3uj92hwDf
— Benjamin Freed (@brfreed) April 20, 2023
Buzzfeed News Editor-in-Chief Karolina Waclawiak issued a statement on social media. She recounted how her team of reporters worked to change the ethical standards for reporting on the internet.
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.
A portion of my note from today: pic.twitter.com/0ln9SnJcQG
— Karolina Waclawiak (@believekarolina) April 20, 2023
Buzzfeed News’ layoffs come after months of shake ups in the news media. Vox laid off thousands after their publications were acquired by Penske Media, and the Washington Post additionally laid off much of its arts staff. Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Perreti has not officially issued further comment on the layoffs at this time, but reporters are coming forward and saying that he apologized for the layoffs.
Jonah Peretti told the newsroom today that BFN closing is "a massive failure on my part and I'm deeply sorry for it." To be clear, this newsroom has "pivoted" over & over & over AND had annual layoffs as Jonah kept failing us.
But he says yes, he's still staying on as CEO.
— Clarissa-Jan Lim (@clarissajanlim) April 20, 2023
Buzzfeed has not announced the final day of Buzzfeed News coverage yet.