The dozens of Aussie journos employed by Buzzfeed have been left wondering where they’ll be working next week after the global news outlet announced it would be making drastic cuts to its workforce Down Under.
Buzzfeed Australia general manager Simon Crerar tweeted the news earlier today, encouraging his mates to “send beer”.
BuzzFeed management have informed us that 25 roles in Australia are facing redundancy. 11 new roles are being created in Sydney as business priorities shift. Consultation period at @BuzzFeedOz is to run at least a week. Mates: send beer. Haters: no, I will not learn to code— Simon Crerar (@simoncrerar)
Mr Crerar later clarified Buzzfeed would consult with 25 affected employees, eventually cutting 11 positions.
The news outlet reports from both Sydney and Canberra however all 11 redundancies will be from its Sydney office.
Management will consult with the two dozen affected employyes with Buzzfeed Oz’s political
editor Alice Workman reporting the entire news team had been given redundancy letters.
Via Twitter, Workman said the whole Buzzfeed News team had been sent “consultation letters” as the company works to “reduce its overall news footprint”.
The Aussie sackings come a week after the viral news company announced it would be shedding 15 per cent of its global workforce, or 200 people, in an effort to cut costs.
The drastic cuts even led to one former Buzzfeed worker jokingly creating his own quiz to roast the company for its layoffs.
The company’s Community feature allows any visitor to the site to create their own Buzzfeed quiz — which is exactly what Jason Sweeten did last night.
In one question, quiz takers are asked “What’s your department”.
There are the obvious editorial or business options to select but the final option people taking the quiz is, “For the last two years I’ve done nothing but write personality quizzes. My boss assured me that I could try other things within the department but she was just laid off”.
In another, Mr Sweeten jokes about the company’s holiday party.
Earlier this week, Buzzfeed’s director of quizzes in the US announced he too had been laid off after the company realised the success of its unpaid, free Community feature.
“It’s kinda amazing how much revenue-generating traffic the site gets from unpaid community volunteers,” the former quiz director Matthew Perpetua wrote.
“So, in a ruthless capitalist way, it makes sense for the company to pivot to having community users create almost all of the quizzes going forward. I understand math. I get it.”
Buzzfeed Oz has journalists working across Sydney and Canberra will start its consultation meetings tomorrow.
In a statement, a Buzzfeed spokesman said the company remained “committed” to its Australian audience.
“We’ve built a strong brand, loyal audience, and growing business in Australia and BuzzFeed remains committed to building on that foundation for the long-term,” the spokesman said.
The news of Buzzfeed’s cuts have been felt right around Australia with dozens of journalists mourning the common media scenario and labelling it a “sad day for everyone in journalism”.
Thoughts are with all the BuzzFeed Australia staff this week. One of the best examples of a global media company coming to Australia and doing something unique and important. A sad day for everyone in journalism.— Denham Sadler (@denhamsadler)
Solidarity with my mates and stellar reporters at Buzzfeed. Old or new, the media industry needs its good ones more than ever.— Rick Morton (@SquigglyRick)
Thinking of everyone on the Buzzfeed news team in Australia — I’m so sorry this is happening. Solidarity. I wish things were better for the news industry overall.— Jennine Khalik (@jennineak)
The move has also been lashed by the reporters working for Buzzfeed Oz with many admitting they have no idea where they’re heading or if they’ll even be employed next week.
so – unsure about my future at BuzzFeed News for today. Will find out more in the future. But, hell, if you’re hiring – now would be the time to get in early.— brad esposito ? (@bradesposito)
Every time something bad happens I always tell myself that ‘worse things happen to better people’ but it doesn’t work this time because the people I work with are the best people I’ve ever met in my life. I’m logging off for a bit but I am so proud of every single one of us. https://t.co/HtRpOfXIBm— Gina Rushton (@ginarush)
11 jobs in my office going. Not sure who yet, consultation period starts today.— Josh Taylor (@joshgnosis)
US President Donald Trump, who regularly rails against what he calls “fake news”, celebrated the job cuts at BuzzFeed and HuffPost over the weekend.
In a tweet, he wrote: “Ax falls quickly at BuzzFeed and Huffpost! … Fake News and bad journalism have caused a big downturn. Sadly, many others will follow. The people want the Truth!”
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti sent a note to employees last week, saying the layoffs would help the company avoid having to again hit up investors for more money.
The privately held company, based in New York, has not been profitable for several years and has raised hundreds of millions from investors.