BuzzFeed News is closing in on the company's cost-cutting move

Pulitzer Prize-winning digital media outlet BuzzFeed News is shutting down as part of a cost-cutting drive by its parent company which laid off about 15% of its entire staff, adding to layoffs made earlier this year.

In a memo sent to staff, the co-founder and CEO of Buzzfeed Inc. Jonah Peretti said Thursday that in addition to the news division, the layoffs will occur in the business, content, technology and administration teams. BuzzFeed is also considering making layoffs in international markets.

BuzzFeed has about 1,200 total employees, according to a recent regulatory filing, meaning around 180 people will lose their jobs in the latest cuts.

Peretti said in his memo that he “made the decision to over-invest” in the news division, but failed to realize early enough that the financial support needed to sustain operations was missing.

Digital advertising has slumped this year, cutting profits from big tech companies from Google to Facebook. Wave of layoffs has been rolling through the tech industry and more is expected.

“I have learned from this mistake, and the team moving forward has also learned from it,” Peretti wrote in the memo. “We know that the changes and improvements we made today are necessary steps to build a better future.”

The announcement comes just months after BuzzFeed said it would do so cut 12% of its workforce, citing deteriorating economic conditions. Layoffs were also announced in December.

Christian Baesler, Buzzfeed Inc.'s chief operating officer, and Edgar Hernandez, its chief revenue officer, also left after they helped with the restructuring.

The company will have one news brand remaining, HuffPost, Peretti wrote.

The journalist who previously worked at BuzzFeed News lamented the ending.

“I am deeply saddened, and proud, by the great journalism we did while I was there and after I left,” said Ben Smith, editor of BuzzFeed News from 2011 to 2020 and now editor-in-chief of Semafor.

Smith made a controversial decision in 2017 to publish an information “file”. about then-President Donald Trump, although many outlets have dismissed him as unreliable and even BuzzFeed has said there are serious reasons to doubt the allegations. He later wrote that “we always erred on the publishing side.

The closure of BuzzFeed News “literally marks the end of the marriage between news and social media,” said Smith, author of “Traffic,” a coming-of-age history of the era.

BuzzFeed News won his first Pulitzer in 2021, in international reporting, for a series by Megha Rajagopalan, Alison Killing and Christo Buschek on the infrastructure built by the Chinese government for the mass detention of Muslims.

That same year, BuzzFeed News and the International Consortium of Journalists were finalists in the category for exposure on the role of the global banking industry in money laundering. A former employee of the US Treasury Department was sentenced to six months in prison this month for leaking a treasure trove of classified financial reports on which the series is based.

BuzzFeed said Thursday that all of its news division work will be maintained and made available within the BuzzFeed network. The company is also working to ensure that any stories in progress will be published and promoted on BuzzFeed properties.