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BuzzFeed shutters news operation; Insider cuts 10% of staff

BuzzFeed shutters news operation; Insider cuts 10% of staff
BuzzFeed's headquarters pictured on 11 December 2018 in New York City. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

BuzzFeed is shutting its news operation, and business-news publisher Insider Inc is cutting about 10% of its staff in the latest retrenchments for the digital-media business.

BuzzFeed chief operating officer Christian Baesler and chief revenue officer Edgar Hernandez are leaving as part of the cutbacks, CEO Jonah Peretti said on Thursday in a memo to staff. About 180 positions are being eliminated.

“We are moving forward only with parts of the business that have demonstrated their ability to add to the bottom line,” Peretti said in the memo. “That means we will no longer be supporting BuzzFeed News as a standalone organisation.”

Insider, co-founded by former Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget, began telling over 100 staff that they are losing their jobs on Thursday and planned an all-hands meeting. Workers getting let go will receive at least 13 weeks of base pay, according to a staff memo. 

“Our industry has been under significant pressure for more than a year,” Blodget and president Barbara Peng said in the memo.

Once a growing online source of news and information, BuzzFeed has stalled in recent months, with advertisers pulling back and revenue in decline. Despite numerous job cuts, the company has been unable to sustain a profit.

BuzzFeed will focus its news operations on HuffPost, which the company acquired in 2020 and is profitable, and continue to operate its namesake website, along with the youth-oriented media business Complex, Tasty and First We Feast.

Marcela Martin, BuzzFeed’s president, will take over the responsibilities of chief revenue officer. The company will be offering roles elsewhere in the organisation to a number of BuzzFeed News employees. The company recently began using artificial intelligence to help it create puzzles for readers.

Shares of BuzzFeed tumbled 20% to 75 cents at the close on Thursday in New York. The company went public at $10 a share in January 2021. Comcast Corp, a major investor, reported in February that its stake in the company had fallen to 16%. BM/DM


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