By paulgillin | March 23, 2022 - 5:25 pm - Posted in Uncategorized

We were excited when BuzzFeed announced a major commitment to investigative journalism and hired old friend Craig Silverman as one of its top editors back in 2015. We were even happier when BuzzFeed, which cut its teeth on riveting stories like 15 Celebrities Who Waited Until They Were Married To Have Sex, won a Pulitzer last year for its exposé on China’s detention of Muslims in its Xinjiang region.

Photo: Wikipedia

So we were disappointed, though not altogether surprised, to read that many of the top editors have abandoned ship in the wake of a $25 million loss from operations in the most recent fiscal year, down from a $12 million profit the year before. CNBC says some large shareholders ever urged CEO Jonah Peretti (pictured) to shut down the company’s news organization entirely because it’s losing $10 million a year.

“This morning we announced plans to accelerate profitability for BuzzFeed News, including leadership changes, the addition of a dedicated business development group, and a planned reduction in force,” Peretti said Tuesday, burying the lead. “We will prioritize investments around coverage of the biggest news of the day, culture and entertainment, celebrity, and life on the Internet.”

In other words, those Chinese Muslims can go pound sand.

To give Peretti his due, he was under pressure to do something as the stock has fallen more than 50% over the last six months since its initial public offering as a special-purpose acquisition company in December. The situation worsened with a disastrous quarterly earnings report and projected revenue decline on Tuesday.

Peretti has had success turning around HuffPost with a similar cutback strategy. BuzzFeed isn’t giving up on news entirely, but it will clearly emphasize those stories that generate clicks and eyeballs. It’s another indication that in an environment of social media misinformation and 10-second attention spans, the market for serious journalism continues to wither.



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