BuzzFeed News, the Pulitzer Prize-winning news service, is no more. The closing will be accompanied by an overall 15% staff cut, affecting around 60 employees in the news division and 180 throughout the company.
Some staffers will be offered roles at sister products HuffPost or BuzzFeed Cot Com, Politico reports. The profitable HuffPost will remain as the company’s only news brand, it adds.
In another change, chief revenue officer Edgar Hernandez is stepping down, as is chief operating officer Christian Baseler.
In a memo to staff, Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti acknowledged he had “made the decision to overinvest” in the news division,” but was slow to recognize that it would not be profitable based on support from social media platforms, The New York Times reports.
Peretti wrote, ““We are reducing our workforce by approximately 15% today across our Business, Content, Tech and Admin teams, and beginning the process of closing BuzzFeed News.”
The company will “engage with the NewsGuild about our cost reduction plans and what this will mean for the affected union members,” Peretti said, according to Politico.
BuzzFeed News won a Pulitzer in 2021 and was a finalist for another. But the parent company conducted a layoff of 12% of total staff last December, pointing to the continued economic challenges faced by digital publishers.
Earlier this year, Pereti criticized publishers that use AI technology “for cost savings and spamming out a bunch of SEO articles that are lower quality than what a journalist could do.”
But in March, Futurism reported that “BuzzFeed quietly started publishing fully AI-generated articles that are produced by non-editorial staff — and they sound a lot like the content mill model that Peretti had promised to avoid.”
Politico adds that all news content will remain archived on the Buzzfeed website.