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BuzzFeed to make salary cuts due to coronavirus outbreak

BuzzFeed to make salary cuts due to coronavirus outbreak
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BuzzFeed is implementing salary cuts for its employees as the news organization prepares for a significant financial from the coronavirus outbreak. 

Jonah Peretti, the site's co-founder and CEO, informed staff Wednesday that the organization would institute a graduated salary reduction for the majority of the company for April and May, according to an internal memo obtained by The Hill. 

The pay cut percentage will depend on employee salary. Those who make less than $65,000 will experience a 5 percent reduction in pay and those who make more than $125,000 will take a pay cut of more than 10 percent. Executives' salary will receive a cut between 14 and 25 percent. 

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Peretti said that he would not take a salary until "until we are on the other side of this crisis." The Daily Beast first reported on the announcement. 

"Though we were well on track to be profitable this year, the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy will almost certainly cause the company to lose money, even as we take aggressive action to control costs," Peretti said in the memo, noting that he was making this decision now to avoid taking more "painful" measures later. 

He added that the company would reduce real estate costs and limit travel and expenses in the interim to respond to the crisis. He also noted that he'd meet with the News Guild union about the plan, inviting them to "participate in this or to propose a new plan that meets the same savings goal."

The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China, has infected more than 62,000 people in the U.S., according to a Johns Hopkins University database, causing businesses and schools around the country to close as federal and local officials work to slow its spread. 

Several newspapers and alt-weeklies have announced layoffs and pay cuts because of a severe halt in digital and print advertising. The Advocate and Times Picayune, the biggest paper in Louisiana, on Monday announced that it would have to furlough a tenth of its staff and require the rest observe a work four-day week.

Several BuzzFeed News staffers acknowledged the pay reductions on Twitter. Ryan Mac, a tech reporter for the news outlet, said that "this plain sucks, but I'm happy that my colleagues and I are still here and that we get to do the jobs we love."

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"Tough times are ahead for everyone, the media business included," BuzzFeed News science reporter Stephanie M. Lee said. "For one, want to keep investigating the coronavirus, the vaping business, scientific misconduct, and so much more." 

"We'd be grateful for any support you can give us," she added, linking to a donation page from the site.