An unexpected ‘long weekend’: Layoffs hit BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Gannett

Over one thousand layoffs across print and digital media have thrown the future of journalism into doubt.

’Twas an ugly week for the media industry: After unexpected layoffs across both print and digital publications, hundreds of journalists will be updating their resumes this weekend.

An unexpected ‘long weekend’: Layoffs hit BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Gannett

The downsize shows that both print and digital media companies are struggling to find a way to monetize in an ever-saturating attention economy. 

Here’s a rundown of which publications brought down the ax (and why):

A buzz cut for BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is laying off 250 workers (15% of its staff). Although BuzzFeed cut 100 jobs in 2017, this is its biggest downsize ever. Why? Because the ’Feed has raised $500m over the last decade and it’s still not profitable.

According to BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti, the corporate haircut will help the digital media company “focus on the content that is working, and achieve the right cost structure.”

HuffPost is all out of opinions

The Huffington Post will lay off 20 writers and eliminate its Opinion and Healthcare sections as its parent company, Verizon Media, cuts 7% of its total workforce (a total of 750 employees).

Verizon acquired HuffPost in 2015 (as a part of AOL), but so far the telecom giant hasn’t cut costs enough to make media margins pay off: Verizon also cut 39 HuffPost union members as part of a massive 2.1k-person downsize in 2017.

Even Pulitzers can’t protect writers at Gannett

In preparation for a potential buyout, Gannett (a massive media conglomerate that owns 101 newspapers across the country,) cut several senior journalists — some of whom had won Pulitzers

Things may look bad in digital journalism, but the grim news from Gannett is a reminder that things are still worse in print journalism. 

In the process of acquiring numerous newspapers, Gannett has already downsized dozens of news teams — and now if Gannett itself is acquired, the number of layoffs will get even larger.

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