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Popular BuzzFeed cuts third of staff

Shock move sends ripples through media industry

BRITAIN’S media industry was dealt another blow yesterday as news site BuzzFeed announced it was to sack almost a third of its staff.

BuzzFeed is to cut 45 of its 140 staff in London, including 23 journalists who face redundancy out of 76 in total.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said the cuts were “a major blow” to the staff and “sent a chill throughout the whole industry. With Google and Facebook hoovering up virtually all digital advertising, there are huge questions to be answered for the future of journalism.”

The redundancies come at the end of a year which has seen regional newspapers continue to cut back news coverage by sacking journalists to maintain profits.

BuzzFeed’s future was thought to be assured through its wealthy backers, including Comcast’s NBC Universal, which invested £300m last year.

But revenue has plummeted, said the NUJ, along with the number of people using the site.

NUJ national organiser Laura Davison said: “The whole union will have been shocked by the scale of what is being put forward and will be rallying behind our members at risk of redundancy.

“At a time when other organisations are investing in digital for the long-term, cutting back staff with these skills seems perverse.

“The staff are BuzzFeed’s greatest asset and I’m sure they will have strong alternative proposals to put forward during the consultation period.

“The situation demonstrates again the importance of a strong collective voice in the workplace.

“As the union is currently battling with redundancies across local newspaper groups such as Newsquest, it is deeply worrying to see such a trail-blazing digital enterprise to be in such trouble.”

The NUJ is asking for messages of support to be tweeted to #BuzzFeedcuts or email campaigns@nuj.org.uk

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