Last year, when BuzzFeed announced that it would buy HuffPost, it was thought that the cost-cutting would come after the deal is completed. On Tuesday, less than a month after the acquisition, BuzzFeed laid off 47 workers at HuffPost and closed the Canadian edition of the publication.
At a meeting of the virtual company, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said the layoffs were aimed at preventing losses at HuffPost. HuffPost, formerly owned by Verizon Media, lost more than $ 20 million last year and is on the same footing this year, Peretti told employees according to a meeting account provided by BuzzFeed. level.
Employee is given a password to enter the meeting – “spr! NgisH3r3, a variation of the phrase “spring is here”. The employees were then informed that if they did not receive an email before 1pm, their work would still be safe. The Defector website first reported on the password and other details of the meeting, confirmed by two meeting attendees and spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. A BuzzFeed spokesperson told The New York Times that the company regrets the tone of the password.
HuffPost Union, part of the East American Writers Association, said in a statement that the layoffs affected its 33 members, almost a third of the local union. “We were devastated and angry, especially after a tiring year from the pandemic and working from home,” the union said in a statement.
As part of the cuts, BuzzFeed closed HuffPost Canada and announced plans to scale down its operations in Australia and the UK, a BuzzFeed spokesman said. The spokesman added that at the end of the austerity measures, HuffPost will still have a larger newsroom than BuzzFeed News.
During the meeting, Mr. Peretti said that HuffPost’s executive editor, Hillary Frey and its international executive editor, Louise Roug, would be leaving the company soon. HuffPost has not had an editor-in-chief since Lydia Polgreen left a year ago to become head of content at Gimlet Media, a podcasting company owned by Spotify. Mr. Peretti said he plans to announce a successor to Ms. Polgreen in the coming weeks.
Those who accept the job report to Mark Schoofs, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News. At the meeting, Mr. Peretti reiterated that BuzzFeed and HuffPost will remain different from each other, with a separate team of editors.