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Across the past few weeks, digital media platforms like Vice, Vox and most notably Buzzfeed have been laying off hundreds of members of staff. The losses come as a result of changes in advertising and consumer behaviour which means media giants like Facebook and Google are taking over the advertising business meaning that smaller outlets have to find alternatives in order to generate revenue.
In the past few weeks, 1000 workers from Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post and Vice have been laid off, many of these reporters. The reduced need for reporters is also the result of Facebook and Google who distribute their own digital news content and thus are eliminating the need for various other media platforms. In order to counter this, a solution proposed by the CEO of Buzzfeed, Jonah Peretti, was that digital companies like Group Nine Media, Vice and Vox Media could merge in order to generate more revenue.
The layoffs at Buzzfeed seemed to have generated a domino effect as the cuts are affecting other digital media platforms as Verizon also announced that it would be cutting 7% of staff from the media division.
The news has obviously generated a huge social media response, particularly from fellow Buzzfeed workers, one such is Kristin Chirico (@lolacoaster) who has been posting a series of tweets about the layoffs. On January 28th she posted the tweet:
“I think it’s really important for everyone in media to understand that BuzzFeed is literally laying off superstars right now.”
She has also been issuing tweets in an attempt to find work for her fellow Buzzfeed workers who have had their positions removed. But the controversy continues as it appears that as a result of the layoffs Buzzfeed staff had also not been paid time off after the layoffs – this was remedied with a petition signed by more than 600 people, including Kristin Chirico.
There has been a massive outcry to the unfair dismissal of hundreds of workers, but this is not the first time that Buzzfeed has experiences losses in the past few years. Last September, Buzzfeed had to lay off workers when they closed down the podcast division; in June 2018, 20 Buzzfeed staffers were cut and in November 2017, 100 employers were laid off.
Now anyone who is anyone, knows and loves Buzzfeed, but what they have done to loyal workers over the past few years is atrocious. Workers who have spent the past several years dedicated to this company have been laid off and are now forced to scramble and search for jobs.
The amount of losses Buzzfeed and other digital media outlets have experienced in the past few years just emphasises how much smaller media outlets are struggling to cope against the media giants of Facebook and Google and demonstrates the threat to smaller media outlets, posing the question: will smaller digital media outlets still exist in 5 years time?