BuzzFeed UK laying off nearly half of London newsroom – with ‘viral’ Buzz team taking the biggest hit


BUZZFEED plans to cut nearly half of the journalist jobs in its London newsroom, The Sun can confirm.

The cull is part of a wider global reduction in workforce, which was announced in the company’s US office last week.

 BuzzFeed is one of the most well-known news sites of the internet age

AFP or licensors

BuzzFeed is one of the most well-known news sites of the internet age

The UK lay-offs largely affect BuzzFeed’s Buzz team, which focuses on creating fun, viral content for a younger audience – as well as BuzzFeed’s famous “listicles”.

It’s also expected that writers on the news and showbiz teams will be made redundant.

The news was revealed on Twitter by BuzzFeed’s own London-based media and politics reporter, Mark Di Stefano, and later confirmed to The Sun.

In a tweet, Mark wrote: “Management has just told BuzzFeed UK staff 17 of 37 editorial roles proposed to be cut in London.

 Writers at a number of BuzzFeed offices worldwide are facing redundancy

Reuters

Writers at a number of BuzzFeed offices worldwide are facing redundancy
 The BuzzFeed Office on Argyll Street in London now expects sweeping editorial job cuts

Google Street View

The BuzzFeed Office on Argyll Street in London now expects sweeping editorial job cuts

He continued: “Majority losses to the UK buzz team, and also cuts to news and celeb teams.”

Speaking to The Sun, a BuzzFeed spokesperson said: “Our proposed News unit in the UK will continue to do impactful journalism across social justice, politics and social news.

“The biggest loss to our team will be in the core Buzz unit, however we will maintain some celebrity content creators.

“In the UK, the only impacted groups are News and Buzz.”

However, a BuzzFeed spokesperson old us that there are “some proposed losses to the News team”.

That’s referring to BuzzFeed News, which creates more newsy, traditional content.

A source told The Sun that the Investigations team in the UK is not affected by job cuts.

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Some individual writers aren’t aware if their jobs are safe right now, but will shortly.

“We’re now in a consultation process and individuals will be notified,” BuzzFeed told The Sun. A separate source within BuzzFeed confirmed to us that this has begun.

The proposed number of editorial job losses is 17, of a total 34 staff.

However, The Sun understands that this figure could change – if some staff choose to take voluntary redundancy, for example.

 BuzzFeed founder and chief Jonah Peretti blamed poor revenue growth for the job losses

Getty – Contributor

BuzzFeed founder and chief Jonah Peretti blamed poor revenue growth for the job losses

BuzzFeed – a brief history

Here’s what you need to know…

  • BuzzFeed is an online-only, US-based news and entertainment company
  • It was founded in 2006 by Jonah Peretti and John S. Johnson III to focus on viral content
  • The site quickly boomed in popularity, thanks to its easy-to-chew listicles, quizzes, and youth-focused pop culture articles
  • This early success allowed BuzzFeed to put significant funding into video production and the “harder” BuzzFeed News division
  • Solid investigative journalism allowed BuzzFeed to win a number of awards, as well as nominations for the Pulitzer Prize
  • One of BuzzFeed’s most popular articles was about a debate over the colour of the “dress”, a famous photo of a dress that some people see as black and blue, and others see as gold and white
  • The 2015 post racked up more than 28million views in a single day, setting a record for the site
  • And in April 2016, a live-streamed BuzzFeed stunt where two interns wrapped elastic bands around a watermelon until it exploded prove to be one of the site’s most popular videos
  • In January 2019, BuzzFeed announced significant global lay-offs, amounting to a 15% global workforce cull
  • BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti blamed poor revenue growth
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The global lay-offs were announced last week in a letter headlined ‘Difficult Changes’, sent by BuzzFeed chief Jonah Peretti to employees.

Jonah vowed to slash worldwide headcount by 15%, which would mean cutting 250 jobs – leaving a workforce of 1,100 employees globally.

The letter explained that revenue growth wasn’t enough “to be successful in the long run”.

With job cuts, Jonah pledged that BuzzFeed can “thrive and control our own destiny, without ever needing to raise funding again”.

The cuts have proved particularly brutal in some areas – BuzzFeed Spain has been closed entirely, as of last Friday.

And job losses in the US – which aren’t yet finalised – have sparked outrage.

An open letter by UK and US staff demands that American staff who face redundancy receive paid time off that they’ve earned.

Right now, only staff in California are legally due these payments.

 Jonah promised that the job cuts will allow BuzzFeed to "thrive and control our own destiny, without ever needing to raise funding again"

Corbis – Getty

Jonah promised that the job cuts will allow BuzzFeed to “thrive and control our own destiny, without ever needing to raise funding again”

Speaking about the UK job cuts, Daniel Drepper, the Editor-in-Chief at BuzzFeed Germany, said: “So sorry for everyone at BuzzFeed UK who has to leave.

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“The team has done unbelievably great work in the past and has been an inspiration for us here at BuzzFeed Germany.

“All other media organisations in the UK, you should feel lucky to have the chance to hire these people.”

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