Dozens of journalists and employees at BuzzFeed News and Verizon-owned Huffington Post took to Twitter last week to announce they had been laid off.
BuzzFeed, a digital media company known for its viral lifestyle content and most recently its reporting on the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, cut about 200 people, or roughly 15 percent of its workforce, according to The Associated Press.
“Unfortunately, revenue growth by itself isn’t enough to be successful in the long run” BuzzFeed Chief Executive Jonah Peretti reportedly said in a staff memo. “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.”
Reports state that the staff cuts are in part because the company doesn’t want to raise money from investors again as they’ve done in the past.
The Wall Street Journal reported that BuzzFeed has raised about $500 million since they’ve gone live and in 2016 they were valued at 1.7 billion.
However, the company’s leadership says BuzzFeed isn’t profitable, even with investors such as Comcast NBCUniversal.
In 2017, BuzzFeed cut 100 employees after missing its revenue goal of 350 million by 15 percent, the Journal reported. Since then, the company has closed its Face division as well as shut down its in-house podcast operation.
Last week, Verizon said they are laying off about 800 employees in their media division, which includes Yahoo and the Huffington Post.
A Verizon spokesperson said in a statement that the layoffs are a “strategic step toward better execution of our plans for growth and innovation into the future.”
Gannett, the largest newspaper publishing company in the country, also announced layoffs that would cut dozens of jobs at newspapers across the U.S.
Experts say that one cause for the troubled media industry is Facebook, which seems to have a chokehold on available advertising dollars.
The newspaper industry has long been in trouble since digital media became the primary way that news is consumed, but many well-established papers such as Washington Post and the New York Times have been able to stand their ground through the changes.
The digital media industry now faces a new frontier of also not being profitable, similar to their print counterparts.
President Donald Trump commented on the layoffs in a series of tweets, calling it a result of bad journalism.
“Ax falls quickly at BuzzFeed and Huffpost!” Headline, New York Post. Fake News and bad journalism have caused a big downturn. Sadly, many others will follow. The people want the Truth!” Trump wrote.
BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith ripped the president in response, calling Trump’s comment “a disgusting thing to say about dozens of American workers who just lost their jobs.”