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BuzzFeed is laying off 15% of its workers

Shutdown stalls efforts to unseal files related to Trump, Russia and the ‘Steele dossier’
The cutbacks at BuzzFeed are part of a wave of media layoffs.
(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

BuzzFeed Inc. is eliminating 15% of its workforce, the latest pullback for digital-media sites dealing with a challenging advertising market.

As it trims staff, BuzzFeed has been examining the “the evolving economics of digital platforms,” Chief Executive Jonah Peretti said in a memo to employees. “We’ve developed a good understanding of where we can consolidate our teams, focus in on the content that is working, and achieve the right cost structure.”

The cutbacks are part of a wave of media layoffs. Verizon Communications Inc. said earlier Wednesday that it would be cutting about 7% of its digital-media operations, a business that includes AOL, Yahoo and the Huffington Post. Gannett Inc. also has been laying off journalists from its collection of newspapers.

BuzzFeed, a pioneering site that spans hard news, personality quizzes and listicle-style features, was long seen as a way for journalism to prosper in a post-print era. But growth alone hasn’t been enough to ensure success, Peretti said in his memo.

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“The restructuring we are undertaking will reduce our costs and improve our operating model so we can thrive and control our own destiny, without ever needing to raise funding again,” he said. “These changes will allow us to be the clear winner in the market as the economics of digital media continue to improve.”

The Wall Street Journal previously reported on the cuts, saying they would amount to about 250 jobs.

In his memo, Peretti promised to share more about the company’s plans in the next few days.

“Even though I’m confident this is the right business decision, it is upsetting and disappointing,” he said.

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The announcement comes days after BuzzFeed News published an article saying that according to unnamed law enforcement officials, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III obtained documents to support allegations that President Trump had instructed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress. Mueller’s office issued a rare public statement disputing BuzzFeed’s account.


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