BuzzFeed’s First Round of Layoffs Puts an End to Its National News Desk

In particular, BuzzFeed has deep ties to Group Nine Media, the digital media company behind Thrillist, Seeker, The Dodo and NowThis. Its chief executive, Benjamin Lerer, has long been friends with Mr. Peretti, and his father, the venture capitalist Kenneth Lerer, is the chairman of BuzzFeed. (The younger Mr. Lerer has stressed that any business deal between the two would not include his father, to avoid conflicts of interest.)

On Thursday, BuzzFeed News employees in New York were told to be in the office on East 18th Street no later than 10 a.m. the next day. Reporters not in New York learned their fates over the phone. Many of those who were dismissed announced their departures on social media.

“I’ve been on vacation for two weeks, and received the news over the phone an hr ago while I stood on a street in Delhi,” Talal Ansari, a reporter, wrote on Twitter. “Now, I write this as I wait to go through airport security. Being laid off from 8k mi away doesn’t make this any easier.”

Marisa Carroll, the deputy national editor, who edited a notable series of articles on accusations of sexual misconduct against the R&B artist R. Kelly, was also laid off. So were John Stanton, who led the Washington bureau for many years before moving to New Orleans to be a national reporter; Cates Holderness, who ignited an internet phenomenon in 2015 with a post that triggered a debate about whether a dress was blue and black or gold and white; and Tyler Kingkade, a national reporter who covered sexual assault and Title IX issues.

“It’s a rough business,” Mr. Kingkade wrote on Twitter.

Some employees took advantage of an internal Slack messaging channel called AJA, for “Ask Jonah Anything,” to make their displeasure known. In messages reviewed by The Times, one staff member asked if employees could bring dogs to work on Monday, to alleviate stress. After Mr. Peretti chimed in, saying it was a “good idea,” another staff member wrote, “Dogs won’t save us from this hell.”

The international bureaus will also be affected by the cutback. The Spain office has been shut down. Last week, Janine Gibson, a longtime editor at The Guardian who was the editor in chief of BuzzFeed UK, left the publication.

In the days leading up to the layoffs, BuzzFeed News came under scrutiny after publishing an article reporting that President Trump had instructed his former lawyer Michael D. Cohen to lie in his testimony to Congress. In a rare public statement, the special counsel’s office denied the report. Mr. Smith has said he stands by the article.

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