BuzzFeed News, which earned as reputation as a scrappy news-breaking digital rival to legacy media brands, is shutting down. Jonah Peretti, the CEO of BuzzFeed, announced to staffers in a memo on Thursday that they will concentrate their news efforts on HuffPost, “a brand that is profitable with a highly engaged, loyal audience that is less dependent on social platforms.” BuzzFeed bought HuffPost from Verizon Media in 2020.
Karolina Waclawiak, its executive editor of culture, takes over the newsroom at a difficult moment for the digital media company.
The BuzzFeed News app has sent its final notification. Amid growing cost cuts and newsroom turmoil, the company announced late Friday that it was shuttering the app. “Well, folks, today’s the last day of the BuzzFeed News app. Thanks for the memories and see y’all out there,” the message read.
Mark Schoofs, the site’s editor in chief, is among the departures. The company’s chief executive said BuzzFeed News would need to “prioritize the areas of coverage our audience connects with the most.”
The employees walked out on an important day for the media company: Shareholders are voting Thursday to take it public.
The investigative journalist Mark Schoofs, a Pulitzer Prize winner, returns to the site after having set up its investigative unit in 2014.
In the span of just a few weeks, the top editors of two leading digital-news outfits called it quits. Ben Smith, who ran BuzzFeed News for eight years, took a job writing a column at the New York Times; Lydia Polgreen is leaving HuffPost to oversee a podcast company. Two does not make a trend, but it does raise a question: Do their departures — smack in the middle of the busiest news cycle in years — say something about the troubled state of the digital news media?
Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News built his division from scratch into the country’s premiere digital-native newsroom. Now media’s Boy Wonder finds his operation — and his company — at an inflection point.
A reporter for the site estimates the effort has the support of “90%” of eligible employees. The BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti has spoken against the idea.
BuzzFeed says its sources are “standing behind” the bombshell report about the special counsel investigation. “We’re being told to stand our ground. Our reporting is going to be borne out to be accurate, and we’re 100% behind it,” investigative reporter Anthony Cormier told CNN’s Brian Stelter on Reliable Sources Sunday.
BuzzFeed News is closing down its in-house podcast production team. “We’ve decided to move to a production model that is more like our TV projects — that is, treating shows as individual projects, with teams brought on as needed,” Shani Hilton, VP of news and programming, said in a memo to staff obtained by TheWrap. “We’ve found a lot of success with this approach to our projects on Netflix, Facebook and Twitter, and we hope to replicate that with audio.”
Known for the native advertisements that drive most of the pureplay’s revenue, BuzzFeed’s new standalone news site is moving in a different direction, monetizing only through display units from open exchanges at its launch.