BuzzFeed News, the Pulitzer Prize-winning digital news website that gained significant attention about a decade ago, will close, according to BuzzFeed chief executive Jonah Peretti in a recent CNN report. The closure is part of broader layoffs at BuzzFeed, with the company slashing 15% of its workforce, or 180 employees.

BuzzFeed News Closure Announcement

Peretti informed staffers in a memo that although layoffs are occurring across nearly every division, the company can no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News as a standalone organization. He also mentioned that discussions with the News Guild, the union representing BuzzFeed employees, have begun.

Peretti hinted that some employees might find roles at HuffPost, the digital news website acquired by BuzzFeed in 2020. He told employees that HuffPost and BuzzFeed Dot Com would open select roles for members of BuzzFeed News, aligning with their divisions’ business goals and matching the skills of BuzzFeed News editors and reporters.

Impact on Employees and HuffPost

“Moving forward, we will have a single news brand in HuffPost, which is profitable, with a loyal direct front page audience,” Peretti added. This decision to close BuzzFeed News led to an outpouring of messages online from former employees expressing sadness and disappointment.

Ben Smith, the founding editor-in-chief who left BuzzFeed News years ago, told CNN that he is “heartsick” about the news. Smith also noted that the relationship between news publishers and social media platforms is pretty much over, reflecting on how BuzzFeed’s growth was fueled by platforms like Facebook and Twitter a decade ago.

The Beginning and Evolution of BuzzFeed News

Years ago, BuzzFeed invested heavily in its news product, hiring top journalists from legacy newsrooms and opening bureaus worldwide. However, the company has recently shifted away from this approach, significantly downsizing its newsroom.

BuzzFeed’s meteoric rise began when Peretti, the former Huffington Post co-founder, created BuzzFeed in 2006 as a side project focused on sharing viral web content. After the sale of Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million in 2011, he hired high-profile political blogger Ben Smith to head the new BuzzFeed News. The platform then quickly gained traction and recognition, attracting millions of unique visitors per month.