The following HuffPost report is reprinted below in part. To read the full report click here.
BuzzFeed announced layoffs for the HuffPost newsroom on Tuesday, three weeks after acquiring HuffPost from Verizon Media in February.
Hillary Frey, the site’s executive editor, and Louise Roug, the executive editor for international, will be departing in a restructuring effort aimed at stemming financial losses.
HuffPost Canada will also shutter operations later this month.
A deal between BuzzFeed, HuffPost and Verizon Media was first made public in November. Verizon Media stated at the time that BuzzFeed and HuffPost would operate as “separate, distinct news organizations” with their own websites and editorial staff while BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti led the combined company.
Peretti told staffers that the decision, which will affect 47 U.S. employees, including eight in management, was made in order to “fast-track the path to profitability” for HuffPost, enabling the company to break even this year and eventually turn a profit. HuffPost’s losses totaled around $20 million in 2020, he said.
“Though BuzzFeed is a profitable company, we don’t have the resources to support another two years of losses,” Peretti said.
“We want to ensure the homepage remains a top destination on the internet,” he added. “We also want to maintain high traffic, preserve your most powerful journalism, lean more deeply into politics and breaking news, and build a stronger business for affiliate revenue and shopping content.”
Although the site has struggled financially for several years, some HuffPost staffers criticized the lack of resources expended to promote the site and its content under Verizon Media.
The ongoing financial crisis brought on by the pandemic has also affected BuzzFeed, which cut pay to employees and furloughed dozens last summer ― eventually laying off around 6% of its workforce ― in response to the economic downturn.
While BuzzFeed News staff moved to unionize in order to help protect their jobs in early 2019, the union is still in the process of negotiating its first contract with management.
BuzzFeed does not have the $4.7 billion net income that Verizon had in 2020 out of which to subsidize HuffPost’s estimated $25 million annual loss. Variety.com reported “BuzzFeed Cuts Staff Salaries, CEO Jonah Peretti to Forgo Pay During Coronavirus Crisis” on March 25, 2020. Techcrunch.com reported “BuzzFeed extends pay cuts and furloughs 68 employees” on May 6, 2020.
The Variety.com and Techcrunch.com reports indicate that BuzzFeed does not have the income to cover HuffPost’s loses. That is the reason why Verizon agreed to give BuzzFeed an unreported amount of cash to help offset HuffPost’s loses. Verizon is not going to underwrite HuffPost’s loses at BuzzFeed forever. Otherwise, Verizon might as well have kept HuffPost under its corporate umbrella.
In order to make HuffPost financially viable BuzzFeed must address both expense and revenue issues. In the short term, BuzzFeed will have to make very deep payroll and administrative cuts. On the revenue side, if BuzzFeed wants HuffPost to attract more advertisers it will have to significantly decrease the extreme leftist hate that HuffPost spews.
Florida Family Association has influenced 1,396 out of 1,414 companies to stop advertising since April 2016 as of December 31, 2020. Florida Family Association will continue to urge companies to stop spending customer money on HuffPost’s leftist vitriol that inspires hate toward Christians, Jews and conservatives.
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