BuzzFeed announces it will permanently close news operation

The closure, a result of the company's workforce being reduced by 15 per cent, marks the end of one of the most notable news websites of the Internet era

By AFP

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Published: Thu 20 Apr 2023, 11:58 PM

BuzzFeed announced Thursday that it was shutting its news division as part of layoffs, signalling the end of one of the most notable news websites of the Internet era.

The company cited challenges including recession in the tech sector and the struggling stock market, with CEO Jonah Peretti admitting he was partly at fault for the closure.

"We are reducing our workforce by approximately 15 percent today... and beginning the process of closing BuzzFeed News," Peretti wrote in a memo to staff.

The announcement is the latest to rock the US media landscape as outlets battle with falling reader numbers and lower advertising revenue. Shares in BuzzFeed, known for its viral content and journalism, plunged more than 20 percent on Wall Street following the news.

Peretti said the company had come to the conclusion that it "can no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News as a standalone organisation." He added that it would now concentrate its news output on its HuffPost website.

Peretti also cited the coronavirus pandemic, less capital, a decelerating digital advertising market and "ongoing audience and platform shifts." "Dealing with all of these obstacles at once is part of why we've needed to make the difficult decisions to eliminate more jobs and reduce spending," he said.

Peretti conceded that he could have reacted differently to the challenges. "I could have managed these changes better as the CEO of this company and our leadership team could have performed better despite these circumstances," he wrote.

Peretti admitted that he had decided "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," he wrote.

BuzzFeed, created in 2006, first became known for its lists and topical quizzes.

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