BuzzFeed to lay off 15% of staff and shut down news site


BuzzFeed is axing 15 per cent of its staff and closing down BuzzFeed News, chief executive Jonah Peretti wrote in an email to staff on Thursday.

The layoffs will affect BuzzFeed’s business, content, administration and technology teams. CRO Edgar Hernandez and COO Christian Baesler will exit the company.

In the email, seen by the Standard, Mr Peretti cited the Covid pandemic, “a tech recession, a tough economy, a declining stock market” among reasons for the changes.

He also said he could have “managed these changes better as the CEO of this company” and said the “leadership team could have performed better”.

“Our job is to adapt, change, improve and perform despite the challenges in the world. We can and will do better,” he wrote.

Mr Peretti went on to admit that he made the decision 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 added: “I regret that I didn’t hold the company to higher standards for profitability.”

Staff were told that Huffington Post, that was co-founded by Mr Peretti, and BuzzFeed Dot Com “have signalled that they will open a number of select roles” for BuzzFeed News staff.

“Please know that we exhausted many other cost saving measurs to preserve as many jobs as possible,” Mr Peretti said.

“I’ve learned from these mistakes and the team moving forward has learned from them as well.”

The company’s president, Marcela Martin, will take on responsibility “for all revenue functions effective immediately”, he said.

Based in New York City, BuzzFeed was founded in 2006 by Mr Peretti and John S. Johnson III to focus on tracking viral content.