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This has felt grimly inevitable for a while now, though we’ve always hoped BuzzFeed News would survive. Since the harsh cuts to HuffPost and across BuzzFeed, though, it always felt like the news wing was at risk of being closed down – and a memo from its CEO Jonah Peretti has confirmed that exact thing has come to pass. First things first, our hearts go out to everyone affected by this news: BuzzFeed News always outperformed and this is in no way a reflection of what its team achieved.
As Peretti puts in his memo: “We’ve faced more challenges than I can mention over the past few years: a pandemic, a fading SPAC market that yielded less capital, a tech recession, a tough economy… a decelerating digital advertising market and ongoing audience and platform shifts.” Those are all undoubtedly true – and have been similarly cited by Insider which announced staff cuts of 10% yesterday – but that’s not the whole story.
BuzzFeed News always had an identity issue that stemmed from its close association with its parent brand. Just look at the number of people – many of whom should have known better – that responded to the news of its closure with jokes about listicles and quizzes. But it was also overreliant on a revenue model that delivered diminishing returns: it was only last month its journalists were asked to write more stories to generate ad revenue. There’ll be lots of time to unpack what went wrong but for now we should be celebrating every major story the BuzzFeed News team broke – of which there were many.
In better news, the Bureau Local’s Rachael Hamada takes us through the two big investigations the newsroom will be undertaking this year, in addition to sharing a mission statement of sorts on how it will go about building and maintaining the relationship with the reader. On the heels of the above story, it’s great to hear there’s still investment in investigative outlets.
If you’d asked me to come up with the scenario to demonstrate why magazines shouldn’t just use generative-AI for the sake of it… I probably still wouldn’t have come up with anything as bad as this. German outlet Die Aktuelle ran a front cover spread promising an exclusive interview with Schumacher that turned out to be entirely AI-generated. Unhinged behaviour.
LinkedIn has always sort of hovered in the background for most B2C publishers – it’s not where audiences go for news. But for B2B journalists, the platform’s many tools and options make it a go-to for brand-building and even a wee bit of monetisation. I spoke to its senior director for EMEA & LATAM Tom Pepper recently, and much of what he said about the primacy of ‘B2B influencers’ on there is just as true for journalists.
More from Media Voices
Our special Practical AI podcast documentary explores how local media organisations have got started with AI projects, the benefits they’re seeing, the challenges they’ve faced and what advice they would give to other publishers looking to get into AI. This episode and our corresponding report have been made possible with the support of United Robots.
Our Practical AI report sidesteps the myths and misconceptions surrounding AI to find out what practical applications there really are for publishers. It spotlights use cases from publishers using AI to turn massive structured datasets into local news reports, updates on local sports teams and the insights inside property listings.
Deadline extended for Publisher Newsletter Awards entriews
We’ve had some fantastic entries to our inaugural Publisher Newsletter Awards. But we know this is a busy time of year for publishers, so we have extended the entry deadline until next Friday, May 5th. The forms will be closed at 23:59, so make sure you’ve hit ‘Submit’ before then!