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BuzzFeed to Furlough 68 Staffers for Three Months Amid COVID-19 Losses – Variety

BuzzFeed, nonetheless hoping to keep away from layoffs in the course of the financial downturn brought on by COVID-19, will furlough 68 staffers with out pay beginning subsequent week by way of mid-August. Amongst different cost-cutting steps, the digital-media agency additionally will prolong beforehand enacted scaled wage reductions by way of the tip of the 12 months.

CEO Jonah Peretti introduced the furloughs in a memo Wednesday to BuzzFeed workers, a duplicate of which was obtained by Variety. He stated the corporate is hoping to maintain losses to below $20 million for the 12 months, after the drop-off in income in current weeks has been even greater than anticipated.

“I’ve made the very troublesome choice to furlough 68 workers starting Might 16th. Within the U.S., the furlough will final for three months,” wrote Peretti, who has stated he’s forgoing a wage in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. “Throughout this era, these workers received’t work and received’t be paid.”

For now, BuzzFeed Information has not be focused for furloughs however a supply aware of the state of affairs says there’ll “positively” be furloughs within the division. Peretti wrote within the memo that the corporate will begin negotiations with NewsGuild of New York — the union that represents BuzzFeed Information employees — “concerning the want to cut back prices in Information.”

“Whereas we weren’t planning for [BuzzFeed] Information to be worthwhile, we had been hoping to reduce losses this 12 months and enhance our efforts at monetization,” the CEO’s memo stated. “Sadly given the present disaster, that can now not be potential with out additional cuts related to what we’re doing throughout different components of the corporate.”

BuzzFeed will proceed to present well being care protection for furloughed workers, who additionally will probably be eligible to acquire unemployment and different authorities help. As well as, the corporate will “pay out all accrued unused trip days to furloughed U.S. workers with the following payroll which can present further money to most impacted workers,” Peretti stated within the memo.

Internationally, BuzzFeed additionally will probably be furloughing workers in some markets. “The length of these furloughs and the cost of accrued trip will range relying on native rules and advantages packages,” Peretti wrote.

The staff being furloughed embody these in BuzzFeed’s enterprise organizations within the U.S. and the U.Okay., in addition to throughout the supporting admin group, and the BuzzFeed Studio workforce, which is supporting a smaller slate of initiatives. In accordance to Peretti, the remaining Studio workforce will probably be built-in into BuzzFeed’s bigger content material group, together with BuzzFeed’s Eko, Media Labs and Animation groups.

Different steps BuzzFeed is to curtail prices embody the potential suspension of its 401(ok) matching packages by way of the tip of the 12 months and subleasing its Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., workplaces. As well as, it has successfully frozen hiring by canceling 50 open positions within the content material and tech teams.

Individually, on Tuesday, BuzzFeed Information named veteran journalist Mark Schoofs its new editor-in-chief, changing Ben Smith, who exited earlier this 12 months to joint the New York Instances. Schoofs will proceed to work as a professor on the USC Annenberg Faculty for Communication and Journalism.

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