Layoffs follow BuzzFeed’s acquisition of HuffPost
BuzzFeed reduces staff at HuffPost weeks after the newsrooms merged
Digital giant BuzzFeed announced plans to cut nearly 50 staff members from the HuffPost newsroom.
The news comes just three weeks after BuzzFeed revealed its purchase of HuffPost from Verizon Media.
Initially, Verizon Media said BuzzFeed and HuffPost would operate as “separate, distinct news organizations” with their own websites and editorial staff, while BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti led the combined company. But now, HuffPost staff face layoffs and a defunct HuffPost Canada operation.
In a statement on Twitter, the HuffPost Union said they are “ devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home.”
The union added that staff members felt the timing of the layoffs denied the employees an opportunity to save their jobs.
“We never got a fair shot to prove our worth,” added the union.
BuzzFeed is not new to employment headlines. The outlet’s staff unionized in early 2019 to protect jobs, but the union is still in the process of negotiating its first contract with management.
Like other businesses, the pandemic and resulting financial crisis has impacted BuzzFeed. Last summer, the company decided to cut employees’ pay as well as furlough staffers. Ultimately, nearly 6 percent of the workforce was released.
At the top of the year, Peretti wrote in an email the first round of layoffs took aim at the company’s loss of profits, per the New York Times.
“The move is meant to trim costs and maintain growth as the company aims to hit profitability this year. BuzzFeed, which employs over 1,300 people, generated more than $300 million in revenue in 2018. That was a jump of better than 15 percent from the previous year, but the company still loses money,” said Peretti in the correspondence.
Although the staff has been reduced, the union said it will push management to honor equity in the workspace.
“Our union will continue fighting to make HuffPost a more just and equitable workplace, including pushing for clear and accountable commitments to hiring and promoting more people of color and for transparency around pay equity.”
Right now, BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, Mark Schoofs, is looking for someone new to assume the editor-in-chief position at HuffPost who would report to him. The opportunity has been available for a year.
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