BuzzFeed, the website that popularized listings while also diving into serious news, is cutting staff as its profits fell, CEO Jonah Peretti said in a conference call with analysts and investors on March 22. Editor-in-Chief Mark Schoofs resigned along with two other seniors. editors.
Earnings before tax and other expenses fell 12 percent in the quarter ending Dec. 31, compared to the previous year, and perhaps more alarmingly for the company, time spent on the website fell 4 percent, BuzzFeed said in its quarterly earnings statement. The company expected earnings to fall in the first quarter of this year as well.
Buzzfeed was founded in 2006 and quickly gained success through its online quizzes and lists before adding a newsroom. BuzzFeed was listed in December through a special-purpose merger with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners. Some employees went out on the day of the SPAC vote and protested against the company’s failure to meet union demands for wage bargaining. Last week, 77 current and former employees filed lawsuits against BuzzFeed, accusing the company of cheating them of profits by abusing how it became public. CNBC also reported that some investors are urging Peretti to close the editorial office.
Mark Stenberg, a reporter at AdWeek, received an internal memo sent by Schoofs, who said the business would offer voluntary acquisitions instead of layoffs to reduce the workforce by about 1.7 per cent. Sources told Axios that a third of BuzzFeed’s news department was offered voluntary buyouts. The timing of at least one of the editors’ resignations was a coincidence, according to Matt Mittenthal, a Buzzfeed spokesman.
Samantha Henig, the company’s chief editor of strategy will run the news operation while Buzzfeed looking for a new editor-in-chief, it appears from the memo that Stenberg has received.
“Also: This is not your fault,” Schoofs wrote to staff in the note. “You’ve done everything we asked for, produced ardent journalism that changed the world.”