×

BuzzFeed Layoffs Gut National News Desk, National Security Team

New details trickled out about the layoffs across BuzzFeed’s news division Friday, and the picture hasn’t been pretty: The publication’s entire national news desk has been laid off, as has almost the entire national security team, according to a source close to the company as well as tweets from affected writers and editors.

BuzzFeed also closed its international office in Spain, and may hand down further layoffs to writers in the U.K. on Monday. There were also reports of layoffs affecting the BuzzFeed News art department and other parts of the newsroom. Other departments within the company are scheduled to hear about layoffs early next week.

BuzzFeed announced Thursday that it was going to lay off 15% of its workforce across the company, or around 220 staffers of its total workforce of close to 1,500. A BuzzFeed spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a question about the number of staffers laid off in the news division Friday.

CEO Jonah Peretti painted the layoffs as a necessary step to “focus on content that is working” in a company-wide memo. Peretti went on to say that “the restructuring (…) 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.”

Popular on Variety

However, some questioned Friday whether the company was really focusing on “content that is working” with these layoffs. BuzzFeed’s national news and national security teams broke some major stories on the Trump administration, Russia’s use of social media to shift public opinions in the United States, and other important subjects.

BuzzFeed wasn’t the only news organization affected by layoffs this week. The Huffington Post also laid off a number of writers Thursday, one day after corporate parent Verizon had announced plans to lay off 800 in its media division. Gannett, owner of newspapers like the Arizona Republic and the Knoxville News Sentinel, laid off writers across the country. And digital sports publication the Player’s Tribune reportedly laid off 12-15 staffers.

More Digital

  • Jill Dickerson - Snap

    Snap Taps OWN's Jill Dickerson to Lead Unscripted Programming

    Jill Dickerson has left OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network after more than a decade to join Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, as a senior member of the Snap Originals team. A seasoned reality TV exec, Dickerson will help lead the development of Snap’s docu-series and unscripted programming and is based at the company’s Santa [...]

  • Deadspin - Jim Rich

    Deadspin to Relaunch Under New Editor Jim Rich, Following Mass Staff Resignation

    Deadspin, the irreverant sports news and opinion digital-media brand that has been dormant since last November, is going to get re-spun under newly hired editor-in-chief Jim Rich. G/O Media named the veteran editor and journalist, who formerly served as editor-in-chief of the New York Daily News, executive editor at Huffpost, and night sports editor at [...]

  • Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, California,

    Alison Small Set to Lead Training for Netflix in U.K. (EXCLUSIVE)

    Alison Small, CEO of The Production Guild of Great Britain, is in discussions to join Netflix as head of its training initiatives out of the U.K., Variety has learned. The Production Guild, whose members include line producers, production managers and location managers, among others, advertised for a new CEO last week. Its chair is Alex [...]

  • Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com 22/01/2020 -

    NATPE 2020: TV Biz Looks Back and Forward as Streaming Wars Ensue

    MIAMI — The atmosphere at the annual NATPE conference this year was a bit of old school and a lot of new school. In keeping with NATPE’s remit as a content market, hopeful stars of new fall talk show prospects pressed the flesh in a flurry of meetings and receptions with station buyers. MGM TV’s [...]

  • Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games -

    NBC to Produce Four Daily Tokyo 2020 Olympics Shows for Snapchat (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBC is again turning to Snapchat as part of monetizing its Olympics media rights — coveting the app’s millions of millennials and Gen Z users. NBC Olympics and Snap inked a renewed pact to present coverage of the XXXII Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, as well as the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, to Snapchat users [...]

  • Adobe Premiere Pro_Productions

    Adobe Premiere Pro to Add Project Management, Multi-User Collaboration Tools

    Adobe Premiere Pro is about to get better at working on big projects — and letting multiple users collaborate on the same video production. The vendor is adding a new set of tools called “Productions” to its Premiere Pro video editing software. Those will provide features for managing projects and sharing assets among them, along [...]

  • Amazon Italy

    Amazon Moving Into Italian Originals With Multigenre Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    Amazon is moving into Italian originals with a multigenre slate comprising “Bang Bang Baby,” a Milan-set mob drama with a young woman at its center, a comedy series centered around popular local star Carlo Verdone, and an unscripted food travelogue titled “Dinner Club.”  The streamer’s first forays into Italian scripted content were announced Thursday at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content