BuzzFeed News Top Editor Mark Schoofs to Leave Ahead of Newsroom Cuts

The head of BuzzFeed News and two other top editors are leaving the company before cutting the newsroom.

Mark Schuffs, who became editor-in-chief in 2020, told staff members in an email on Tuesday that he would step down. He said Tom Namako, deputy editor-in-chief and aerial commissar, the executive editor of the investigation, would also leave the company. Mr. Namako said in a tweet that he is joining NBC Digital as an executive editor.

Mr. Schoofs said in an email that BuzzFeed has been subsidizing the news division for many years and that the “next step” for BuzzFeed News was to reach profitability on its own.

“This will require BuzzFeed News to shrink once again,” he said, adding that the company hopes to achieve this through voluntary purchases rather than layoffs. He said the buyout would be available to people at the investigation, science, politics and inequality desk.

Samantha Henig, Strategic Executive Editor at BuzzFeed News, will serve as interim editor-in-chief while the search for her successor continues. Schools added.

BuzzFeed chief executive Jonah Peretti told staff in a separate email on Tuesday that BuzzFeed News “needs to prioritize areas of coverage that engage our audience the most.” He announced further job cuts across the company, including the BuzzFeed video team and the editorial team of Complex Networks, a lifestyle publisher that BuzzFeed acquired last year, as well as business and administrative teams.

“And we don’t take it lightly,” Mr. Parretti wrote.

The resignation and cuts in BuzzFeed’s newsroom are a big shock to BuzzFeed News, one of the worst and most successful digital news operations in the country. Launched in 2011, Newsroom made a name for itself with innovative storytelling and investigative reporting, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2021 for a series that demonstrated the extent of Uighur detention by China.

But he has struggled and contracted financially at various times. In 2019, BuzzFeed reduced its overall workforce by 15 percent. In 2020, BuzzFeed News ceased operations in Australia and the United Kingdom. Late last year, BuzzFeed, the head company of the news department, started trading in the stock market, adding to the pressure for good financial results.

Employees departed Tuesday as BuzzFeed reported its financial results for the first time as a public company the same day. BuzzFeed reported revenue of about $ 145 million in the most recent quarter, up 18 percent from the same period a year earlier. Its profit rose to $ 41.6 million in the most recent quarter, up 29 percent from the same period last year, although it was boosted by tax provisions and other accounting items.

The company said revenue for the current quarter is expected to decline from a “low single-digit percentage” and recorded adjusted losses between $ 15 million and $ 20 million.

BuzzFeed stock was mostly flat on Tuesday, trading at around $ 5.

BuzzFeed went public in December by merging with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, with the company valued at $ 1.5 billion. The company is now valued at about 60 660 million. Prior to the merger, investors in SPAC withdrew about 94 percent of the money raised, leaving BuzzFeed with only 16 million.

Last week, about 80 former and current BuzzFeed employees filed a collective mediation action against the company, alleging it was preventing them from trading their shares illegally due to administrative errors. Claims ask for more than $ 8.7 million in estimated damages. BuzzFeed said there is no justification for the claims.

On the earnings call on Tuesday, Mr. Parretti said that short form vertical videos, like those on TikTok, are emerging as a “preferred content format” for young people and the company will accelerate its investment in such videos.

He said changes to BuzzFeed News would boost its profitability.

Mr. Said Parretti.

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