(CNN) — BuzzFeed News, the Pulitzer Prize-winning digital news website that once inspired jealousy from legacy media organizations, will shutter, BuzzFeed chief executive Jonah Peretti announced Thursday.
The move was part of broader layoffs across BuzzFeed, Peretti said, with the company moving to slash 15% of its workforce.
“While layoffs are occurring across nearly every division, we’ve determined that the company can no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News as a standalone organization,” Peretti told staffers in a memo.
BuzzFeed has “begun discussions with the News Guild,” the union which represents staffers at the company, about the actions.
Peretti indicated that some staffers might be able to find roles at HuffPost, the digital news website that BuzzFeed acquired in a 2020 deal.
“HuffPost and BuzzFeed Dot Com have signaled that they will open a number of select roles for members of BuzzFeed News,” Peretti told employees. “These roles will be aligned with those divisions’ business goals and match the skills and strengths of many of BuzzFeed News’s editors and reporters.”
“Moving forward, we will have a single news brand in HuffPost, which is profitable, with a loyal direct front page audience,” Peretti added.
Edgar Hernandez, chief revenue officer, and Christian Baesler, chief operating officer, would depart as part of the company changes, Peretti said. Marcela Martin, president, would “take on responsibility for all revenue functions effective immediately.”
Peretti said that the economic environment had played a role in the moves announced Thursday, but he also took part of the blame.
“I also want to be clear: I could have managed these changes better as the CEO of this company and our leadership team could have performed better despite these circumstances,” Peretti said.
“I made the decision to overinvest in BuzzFeed News because I love their work and mission so much,” he added. “This made me slow to accept that the big platforms wouldn’t provide the distribution or financial support required to support premium, free journalism purpose-built for social media.”
Peretti said that broadly speaking, he regretted that he didn’t “hold the company to higher standards for profitability, to give us the buffer needed to manage through economic and industry downturns and avoid painful days like today.”
“Our mission, our impact on culture, and our audience is what matters most,” Peretti said, “but we need a stronger business to protect and sustain this important work.”
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