BuzzFeed Layoffs Equal Instant Karma
BuzzFeed Layoffs Equal Instant Karma
BuzzFeed News has announced a 15 percent cut in personnel in a new round of layoffs. Can you say “Instant Karma”? Altogether now, let’s sing a chorus of John Lennon’s “We all shine on”. I know it’s indulging in schadenfreude, but it feels so good. Let’s indulge and discuss.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
BuzzFeed is planning to lay off about 15% of its workforce, according to people familiar with the situation, as the company seeks to reorient itself in a shifting digital-media landscape.
The cuts could affect around 250 jobs, the people said. The firm, among the most high-profile digital-native publishers, also is looking to realign its resources to invest more in promising areas of the business like content licensing and e-commerce, one of the people said.
One impetus for the changes is to get BuzzFeed on the path to profitability and in proper shape as it scouts out potential merger combinations with other digital media players, the people said.
Another driver of the cuts is to help the company avoid raising money again, one of the people said. BuzzFeed has raised about $500 million and was valued at about $1.7 billion following its last funding round in 2016.
Doing the math, that means that the digital media company employs around 1500 people. A company that is not profitable employs that many people. Well, I guess it takes that many people to come up with quizzes, memes and fake news. I know that investing in digital is the wave of the future, but who are the fools that keep shoveling money into this gaping maw?
Well, actually, the fools include some major media players. From WSJ again:
Its investors include Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal—which has invested $400 million—Andreessen Horowitz, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, RRE Ventures and Hearst Ventures.
You might be interested to know that the Comcast/NBCUniversal behemoth also has pumped about $200 million into Vox Media, another digital media company chasing profitability. But what else do these companies have in common? They have the corporate strain of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
The internet has a voracious appetite for content. While sites like Huffington Post and Vox have always been political, BuzzFeed had fun quizzes and memes. In 2013, the website launched The Dodo with fantastic animal videos, stories and fun facts. Tasty is the corporate arm that supplies the fun cooking videos. The unfortunate foray into “serious news” began in 2011 with the hiring of Ben Smith. It was just after this past 2016 Presidential Election that the digital media company became a real player.
An associate of the late Arizona Senator John McCain gave the unverified Steele Dossier on Donald Trump to BuzzFeed which published it in December 2017. You know that totally made up dossier, funded by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democrat National Committee. The media company printed it without doing any due diligence.
Could it have just been last week that BuzzFeed dropped the “bombshell” report that President Donald Trump asked personally that Michael Cohen lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Hotel project. Michael Cohen is the lawyer the media loves to call “Trump’s fixer”. Yeah, more like the little weasel that he used to payoff discarded women. But, I digress. The “bombshell” report was gleefully reported through every news outlet only to land with a thud when Special Inquisitor, I mean, Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued a statement that was sort of refuted it. The Mueller team statement was typical lawyerly squish:
“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller.
Then, on Saturday, BuzzFeed gave us the “scoop” on the Covington Catholic Boys and the Great Smirk at the Lincoln Memorial.
Saturday Night Live already had this skit written before the CovCath debacle:
Look BuzzFeed, here’s a hint from little ol’ me to you: Do due diligence. Push back from the screen and verify the story you are being fed to make sure it’s not a crap sandwich. Or, at least call the folks at Tasty.com. The road to profitability is paved with the truth. And, you also might want to question why you are getting fed these stories. Can you say easy mark? Sure you can.
If not, Instant Karma’s gonna get you again. Shine on!