The company confirmed Wednesday it planned to lay off 15% of its workforce, or about 200 people, including many news staffers. In a memo to employees on Wednesday, co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti said the company would offer specifics about job eliminations by “Monday at the latest,” but today appears to be the leading edge of the cuts.
The timing of the layoffs is far from ideal for the digital outlet. After initially gaining traction with superficial fare like listicles and quizzes, BuzzFeed has aggressively beefed up its investigative reporting capabilities. It made waves with the publication of the so-called “Russian dossier” last year and this month a bombshell report that President Donald Trump directed his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress. (The news was provocative enough to elicit a denial from the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.)
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Those stories, plus the years of Trump fomenting mistrust of the press, unleashed a torrent of gloating replies to laid-off staffers’ tweets, adding to a bonfire that has burned all week as HuffPost and Gannett also went through layoffs. The left-ward tilt of HuffPo and the aggressive reporting on Trump prompted waves of responses along the lines of “why don’t you do something worthwhile for your next job” or, simply, good riddance.
John R. Stanton, senior national correspondent and former Washington bureau chief, and national reporters Tyler Kingkade and Hannah Allam were among those to confirm their departures on Twitter.
A BuzzFeed rep did not immediately respond to Deadline’s request for comment on the timing and specifics of today’s exits.
This is the third round of cuts at the digital news producer in 14 months, following layoffs in November 2017 and in September. The former consisted of about 100 job losses, mainly in its business unit. Digital media companies continue to be squeezed by advertising titans Google and Facebook, and many of them have also been shrinking their staffs in recent months.
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