BuzzFeed offering buyouts to reduce workforce
BuzzFeed is offering buyouts to news employees in an attempt to shrink its workforce as investors in the company have pressured leadership to shut down its news operations completely, according to new reports.
BuzzFeed News’s editor in chief, Mark Schoofs, and two other top editors are leaving the outlet ahead of anticipated cuts to the newsroom, The New York Times reported.
Schoofs wrote in a message to staff on Tuesday that the “next phase” for the company would “require BuzzFeed News to once again shrink in size,” the Times reported. Schoofs said buyouts would be offered to journalists on the investigations, science, politics and inequality desks.
Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s top executive, said in a message of his own to employees that the company would aim to “prioritize the areas of coverage our audience connects with the most.”
“The cuts impact around 1.7 percent of our total workforce today,” Peretti said, “and we do not take that lightly.”
The announced buyouts come the same day as a report from CNBC outlining broader investor concern about BuzzFeed News’s financial health.
Several investors, CNBC reported, have urged Peretti to shut down the company’s news operation entirely.
BuzzFeed did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company went public in December, and dozens of employees have since sued, as reported by Axios, arguing they were prevented from participating in a public listing process and cashing in on shares. Employees at BuzzFeed News unionized in 2019.
Started in 2011, BuzzFeed News won a Pulitzer Prize in 2021 and has earned a reputation for dogged investigative journalism and breaking news frequently.
But the news arm of the company has struggled in recent years to turn a profit, and company leadership reduced its workforce by 15 percent in 2019.
“We will prioritize investments around coverage of the biggest news of the day, culture and entertainment, celebrity and life on the internet,” Peretti said in his message on Tuesday, according to the Times.
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