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March 12, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:06am

Buzzfeed makes Huffpost cuts across US, UK, Canada and Australia three weeks after takeover

By William Turvill

Buzzfeed has announced a series of cuts across Huffpost three weeks after completing the acquisition of its online media peer.

Chief executive Jonah Peretti said that 47 US staff will be affected by the restructuring.

Elsewhere, Huffpost Canada will be closing – with the loss of 23 jobs – and Buzzfeed is proposing more cuts in the UK and Australia.

Buzzfeed has begun a consultation process to propose that Huffpost UK focuses on domestic coverage of politics, entertainment and lifestyle, meaning the closure of its newsdesk.

The company is proposing that Buzzfeed Australia moves away from local to global coverage.

It has not confirmed how many jobs are on the line in the UK and Australia.

However the Guardian reported on Friday that 16 of 29 full-time London-based news staff had been told their jobs were at risk, including Huffpost UK editor-in-chief Jess Brammar. Four jobs were reported to be available for the 16 at-risk journalists.

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A Buzzfeed spokesperson said they could not comment on numbers as a consultation process is ongoing.

But they said: “Buzzfeed has announced that it’s begun a restructuring of Huffpost in order to break even this year and fast-track its path to profitability.

“As part of these changes, we have begun a consultation process in the UK to propose focusing on local coverage of politics, entertainment and Life (Huffpost’s lifestyle vertical) with a smaller team, while exploring new commercial partnerships in the market.”

The cuts are part of Buzzfeed’s plans to make Huffpost break even this year and eventually move to profitability. After the cuts, Huffpost’s newsroom will remain larger than Buzzfeed News.

The company is pushing ahead with recruiting a new editor-in-chief of Huffpost and an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

But executive editor Hillary Frey and Louise Roug, executive editor of international, will be leaving the company.

Buzzfeed announced the acquisition of Huffpost from Verizon Media in November.

The Huffpost Union, part of the Writers Guild of America, East, said in a statement: “Today, we learned that 33 of our colleagues — nearly 30% of our unit — will be laid off.

“We are devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home.

“This is also happening less than a month after Huffpost was acquired by Buzzfeed. We never got a fair shot to prove our worth.

“These layoffs reiterate the importance of forming a union and advocating for our colleagues. We are glad that we are protected by a collective bargaining agreement and that our colleagues will receive severance.

“Our union will continue fighting to make Huffpost a more just and equitable workplace, including pushing for clear and accountable commitments to hiring and promoting more people of color and for transparency around pay equity.”

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