One week after erroneously reporting President Donald Trump told his lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, BuzzFeed announces plans to trim its workforce by 15 percent.
“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. These changes will allow us to be the clear winner in the market as the economics of digital media continue to improve,” said BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti in an internal email.
JeffMcCall, media analyst and professor of communications at DePauw University, says BuzzFeed's layoffs were likely in the works for months, but poor reporting certainly doesn't help its reputation.
“This demonstrates to us that maybe Buzz Feed is not really all that cut out to be doing serious hardcore breaking news journalism,” he says.
What's happening at BuzzFeed is likely to spread to other news outlets struggling to compete in a 24-hour news cycle.
“When you have a site like BuzzFeed that wants to try to stay relevant, and they do it by doing stories that are questionable from a journalistic standard standpoint, that is very risky,” he says. “I really think they overshot their mark because they wanted to try to be relevant in the news breaking world.”
Gannett newspapers also just announced layoffs amid a hostile takeover bid.
“It'shard to make money in news and it's hard to keep news consumers interested,” says McCall. “Part of that is because news consumers across the board have lost trust in traditional media.”