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BuzzFeed News to shut down permanently
Composite screenshot of Inc. and BuzzFeed News YouTube videos(Featured: Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed)

BuzzFeed News to shut down permanently

The online media and entertainment company BuzzFeed, best known for revolutionizing ways of making stories go viral on social media by harnessing the emotions of social media users, has officially decided to shutter its news division, founder and CEO Jonah Peretti has confirmed.

On Thursday morning, Peretti emailed a memo to BuzzFeed staff, informing them that many of their colleagues would soon be laid off as part of a larger company restructure. "While layoffs are occurring across nearly every division, we’ve determined that the company can no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News as a standalone organization," Peretti's email read in part. Approximately 15% of the entire BuzzFeed workforce will lose their jobs in this latest round of layoffs, Peretti said.

Peretti also admitted in the email that, among his other financial missteps at the company, his "love" for the "work and mission" of BuzzFeed News led him to "overinvest" in that particular BuzzFeed division. He also explained that he was disappointed in the "big platforms" that failed to provide support for BuzzFeed News and its "premium, free journalism purpose-built for social media," but he did not specify which "big platforms" he held responsible for his company's decline.

In addition to the loss of its news division, BuzzFeed will also lose two of its top executives. Chief operating officer Christian Baesler and chief revenue officer Edgar Hernandez will both depart the organization soon as well.

BuzzFeed Inc., founded in 2006, has fallen on hard times in recent years. A special-purpose acquisition company helped take BuzzFeed public in December 2021, but shortly thereafter, the value of BuzzFeed stock tumbled from about $10 a share to less than $1. Just a few months after going public, BuzzFeed began reducing its news division workforce.

At that time, NPR reported that "BuzzFeed News is unprofitable" but continued stumbling along, mostly because of high-profile stories and awards. In December 2016, BuzzFeed was the first outlet to publish the infamous Steele dossier, the dubious predicate for years of investigations into whether former President Donald Trump had colluded with Russian leaders to steal the 2016 presidential election. Five years later, BuzzFeed News won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the detention of Uyghur Muslims in Chinese concentration camps.

Despite the prestigious accolade, BuzzFeed's revenue continued to decline due to COVID, an economic recession, which greatly impacted the tech industry, a "decelerating advertising market," and changes in audience and platform demands, Peretti's memo claimed.

Though BuzzFeed News will soon be gone, BuzzFeed Inc. will still have an affiliated news source since it owns HuffPost and will now use HuffPo, which is "profitable," as its "single news brand," Peretti's memo said. BuzzFeed will also continue to integrate with Complex, another online media company targeted toward American youth.

This is a developing story.

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