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Buzzfeed UK sees exodus of newsroom talent following job cuts

By James Walker

There has been an exodus of newsroom talent at Buzzfeed UK this week, the result of 23 editorial redundancies made last month.

Twitter has been awash with Buzzfeed staffers announcing their last days at the digital-first publisher. Press Gazette has counted 18 so far.

Editorial director Tom Phillips, editor-at-large Robin Edds and Scotland editor Hilary Mitchell are among those to have left.

Writing on Twitter, Phillips said: “I’ve had a great time at Buzzfeed. Please hire all the amazingly talented people you have seen also some-personal-newsing today.”

Senior reporter Aisha Gain wrote: “I’ve enjoyed every moment of reporting on underrepresented voices, global news stories, and being at the scene of major events.”

Consumer business correspondent Sara Spary tweeted yesterday: “Today is my last day at Buzzfeed after a brilliant two years reporting on workers’ rights, the gig economy, and consumer affairs.”

Buzzfeed journalists who have left since the start of the New Year:

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  1. Senior editor, Luke Bailey
  2. Supervising video producer, Oisin Bickley
  3. Illustrator, Sian Butcher
  4. Science writer, Tom Chivers
  5. Editor-at-large, Robin Edds
  6. Senior reporter, Aisha Gani
  7. Illustrator, Rebecca Hendin
  8. Copy chief, Rory Lewarne
  9. Breaking news reporter, Alicia Melville-Smith
  10. Scotland editor, Hilary Mitchell
  11. Science editor, Kelly Oakes
  12. Editorial director, Tom Phillips
  13. Commissioning editor, Chelsey Pippin
  14. Scotland reporter, Jamie Ross
  15. Special projects editor, Louise Ridley
  16. Reporter, Fiona Rutherford
  17. Consumer business correspondent, Sara Spary
  18. Homepage editor, Francis Whittaker

It emerged in December 2017 that a third of Buzzfeed UK’s newsroom staff were to be made redundant. Another 22 staff from other sections of the publisher were also up for redundancy.

Announcing the cuts, Buzzfeed chief executive Jonah Peretti said: “In the UK we are realigning the organisation to focus on content for global audiences and our core UK news beats – investigations, politics, media and social justice – and intend to make reductions across buzz, commercial, news and admin as a result.”

Buzzfeed UK made a £3.3m pre-tax loss in 2016 and a £38,395 pre-tax profit the year before.

When Buzzfeed UK announced cuts would be made to staff, the NUJ said the decision was “chilling” for media companies.

Buzzfeed staff have an NUJ chapel but the union has yet to gain official recognition from Buzzfeed.

Buzzfeed declined Press Gazette’s request for comment.

Picture: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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