BuzzFeed introduced layoffs for the HuffPost newsroom on Tuesday, three weeks after buying HuffPost from Verizon Media in February.
Hillary Frey, the location’s government editor, and Louise Roug, the manager editor for worldwide, can be departing in a restructuring effort geared toward stemming monetary losses.
HuffPost Canada will even shutter operations later this month.
A deal between BuzzFeed, HuffPost and Verizon Media was first made public in November. Verizon Media said on the time that BuzzFeed and HuffPost would function as “separate, distinct news organizations” with their very own web sites and editorial employees whereas BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti led the mixed firm.
It has been a very grim yr for the media trade. The coronavirus pandemic undermined a enterprise mannequin already on shaky floor due to an enormous shift in digital promoting spend towards tech giants Google and Fb. Layoffs throughout the trade had been on observe to interrupt information late final yr, Selection reported.
Peretti informed staffers that the choice, which can have an effect on 47 U.S. workers, together with eight in administration, was made to be able to “fast-track the path to profitability” for HuffPost, enabling the corporate to interrupt even this yr and ultimately flip a revenue. HuffPost’s losses totaled round $20 million in 2020, he stated.
“Though BuzzFeed is a profitable company, we don’t have the resources to support another two years of losses,” Peretti stated.
“We want to ensure the homepage remains a top destination on the internet,” he added. “We also want to maintain high traffic, preserve your most powerful journalism, lean more deeply into politics and breaking news, and build a stronger business for affiliate revenue and shopping content.”
Though the location has struggled financially for a number of years, some HuffPost staffers criticized the shortage of assets expended to advertise the location and its content material beneath Verizon Media.
The HuffPost Union, organized as a part of the Writers Guild of America, East, slammed the restructuring effort in a press release:
At the moment, we discovered that 33 of our colleagues — almost 30% of our unit — can be laid off. We’re devastated and infuriated, significantly after an exhausting yr of overlaying a pandemic and dealing from dwelling. That is additionally occurring lower than a month after HuffPost was acquired by BuzzFeed. We by no means obtained a good shot to show our price. These layoffs reiterate the significance of forming a union and advocating for our colleagues. We’re glad that we’re protected by a collective bargaining settlement and that our colleagues will obtain severance. Our union will proceed combating to make HuffPost a extra simply and equitable office, together with pushing for clear and accountable commitments to hiring and selling extra folks of colour and for transparency round pay fairness.
Peretti co-founded HuffPost in 2005 with the location’s namesake, Arianna Huffington, together with Andrew Breitbart and Kenneth Lerer, earlier than beginning BuzzFeed the next yr.
Frey has led the U.S. newsroom since Lydia Polgreen resigned as editor-in-chief one yr in the past to affix the podcasting firm Gimlet Media.
Mark Schoofs, BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, stated final yr that the seek for HuffPost’s subsequent editor-in-chief would start instantly, and Peretti included an replace in his feedback.
“The group of finalists we are considering is extremely strong, diverse, and committed to the future of HuffPost,” he stated. “We anticipate being able to make an offer and an announcement in the coming weeks.”
The continuing monetary disaster introduced on by the pandemic has additionally affected BuzzFeed, which reduce pay to workers and furloughed dozens final summer season ― ultimately shedding round 6% of its workforce ― in response to the financial downturn.
Whereas BuzzFeed Information employees moved to unionize to be able to assist defend their jobs in early 2019, the union continues to be within the means of negotiating its first contract with administration.
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