According to new reports, the Internet news company BuzzFeed will lay off about 15 percent of its workers in response to growing financial pressure.
BuzzFeed, which produces both light-hearted viral content as well as reporting in its news department, has long been thought of as an Internet media success story.
However, there have been major issues for online news companies over the last year or so as many have struggled to keep up with Facebook’s news algorithms and make enough money to support large staffs with small profit margins.
The New York Times reports:
BuzzFeed, often hailed as the future of publishing and a leading producer of digital content, plans to lay off 15 percent of its work force, or about 200 employees, according to a memo sent to the staff on Wednesday night.
The move is meant to trim costs and maintain growth as the company aims to hit profitability this year. BuzzFeed, which employs over 1,300 people, generated more than $300 million in revenue in 2018. That was a jump of better than 15 percent from the previous year, but the company still loses money.
This news comes for BuzzFeed just after they published a major news scoop about Russia that quickly fell apart.
— Ben Mullin (@BenMullin) January 23, 2019
The company has cut staff before. In November 2017, it fired about 100 employees. Vice Media, another supposed media success story, also announced their decision to fire 15 percent of its employees in 2018.
Many journalists and other commentators shared their thoughts on the BuzzFeed layoffs on social media Wednesday.
Fake news is dying. https://t.co/G6pudierjn
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) January 23, 2019
Brutal week for journalists. On top of the BuzzFeed and Gannett layoffs, a source tells me @HuffPost’s long-rumored layoffs are likely to come tomorrow morning.
— Will Oremus (@WillOremus) January 24, 2019
Ugh, so much grim media news today.
— Laura J. Nelson (@laura_nelson) January 23, 2019
Unions are immensely helpful during shit like this and the best thing Buzzfeed people lucky enough to be unaffected by layoffs could do is start organizing ASAP
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) January 23, 2019
Thinking about all my friends at @BuzzFeed suffering layoffs tonight. You do some of the best journalism in the business, and you’ve done more than most to keep democracy safe.
You deserve better than this.
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) January 24, 2019
This is an odd week for BuzzFeed to be taking this step. It’s as though they actually want us to connect the Cohen story with the layoffs
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) January 23, 2019