It’s been the receiver of Pulitzer Prizes and is often hailed as the serious side of the meme internet, but BuzzFeed News will soon end. CEO Jonah Peretii announces the closure as well as 15 percent of staff to be laid off.
Peretti sent a memo to the staff body, which is approximately 1200 employees, that said “the company can no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News” and as such, substantial redundancies would be made across the business. A total of 180 staff are expected to receive redundancy packages in the coming weeks.
The closure of BuzzFeed News is more collateral damage from the pandemic, as BuzzFeed hit troubled times during the first wave of COVID. A troubled stock market listing followed by a tough economy and a global halt of digital advertising saw the media giant take a heavy hit.
Founded in 2011, BuzzFeed News came five years after BuzzFeed itself started. The news arm of the media website was centred around serious and investigative journalism. Its editorial guide stated that “we firmly believe that for a number of issues, including civil rights, women’s rights, anti-racism and LGBT equality, there are not two sides.”
During its tenure, the news channel was instrumental in outing disgraced actor Kevin Spacey. In 2017, alleged victim of Spacey Anthony Rapp came to BuzzFeed News to tell his side of the story, which led to the eventual firing of Spacey from his leading role in ongoing television series House of Cards. The reporting led to an investigation into Spacey’s behaviour and became an instrumental part of the #MeToo movement that now gave a voice to not only female victims, but to all of those who had been victims of powerful Hollywood types.
In 2021, BuzzFeed News received top journalism accolade when a team of journalists won the Pulitzer Prize for an investigation into the detainment of Muslims in the Chinese region of XinJiang.
The award-winning series included satellite images and 3D architectural models, as well as daring and in-depth interviews to recreate and report on the detainment of over 10,000 Muslims scattered throughout China.
BuzzFeed News’ defied the critics who were often cynical about BuzzFeed’s capability of delivering serious news. But with its suite of accolades and accomplishments as well as fair and just storytelling, it’s a sad end for a team of talented journalists.