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why buzzfeed left me
i lost my job!!!
i’m writing to you this morning from a different perspective. at this time yesterday, i was just getting the email memo that buzzfeed would be shuttering buzzfeed news, therefore putting us out of a job. i would then immediately sink into a deeply frenzied goblin mode, updating my resume and texting everyone i know before the news dropped online. then i would get up, go to a bar in williamsburg, meet up with everyone in the newsroom, and begin drinking more than i ever have in my life. my mom told me to not drink too much, go to the gym, and eat a nice meal. i did not do that. why would i end this era reasonably? it has been anything but reasonable.
in the proverbial media industry cafeteria lunch tables, buzzfeed news offered a sort of artsy kid vibe to the brand of buzzfeed inc, the esoteric younger sibling to its annoyingly bubbly and cringe big sister. the wider public might not have respected us, but legacy publications sure did. it was a lethal young newsroom, having come off a pulitzer win in 2021, and publishing investigative reporting that toppled the strongholds of ellen degeneres, r kelly, and uber alike.
but news is not a famous moneymaker, and the business of it all became ever more ominous, signaling that our final days were coming. the news that our ceo jonah peretti had to raise the stock value 12000% or surrender his shares to nbc news felt like a death wish. they culled our newsroom to the bone. our politics, science, investigations and inequality team took buyouts and were quickly snatched up by other rooms. our budgets dwindled, our daily churn and burn content made ever the more important. every week felt like one we were fighting for our lives, the looming threat to make more money in some nondescript way hanging above our heads. journalists paying the price for bad business decisions. what’s new?
we were told on our last day that it wasn’t our fault. it’s not you, it’s me. like, i fucking know. but here we are anyway.
i learned a lot in this newsroom. i’m so proud of what i’ve been able to do. i’ve spoken with parents of school shooting victims, reported on the ground at protests, scooped major stories. i learned the dance of the celebrity interview, and i’ve covered the internet from an infinite amount of angles. and above all, i’ve been surrounded by some of the best writers, writers i’ve been reading for years and have looked up to. i never thought i’d be at buzzfeed for three years. i didn’t even think i’d make it to six months (telling my friends i worked for the millennial meme morgue was humiliating enough). but i was mentored here. i made friends here. i was given opportunities to champion the culture, to do what i cared about, and to try my hand at new things and see if i would surprise myself. and for someone who never got the chance to see buzzfeed at its prime, when it was the hot new billion-dollar venture with ipads for christmas and parties with fire dancers, i’m happy that i at least got as close to a dream job as one could have in this climate.
so i fear this is the end of an era, and i’m rather surprised at how much i care. ultimately, it’s just a job. but it’s a weirdly tough thing to let go of. i worked with my friends every day. i got so much better (so much fucking better) at writing, the only thing i really love to do. i grew up in this newsroom in so many ways. and i can’t believe i got to be a part of this era of media history, even if briefly. i wrote with melissa segura!! i wrote with katie notopoulos !!!!! i gave scaachi koul so many hugs and she hated all of them!!!!!!!!!
it feels like heartbreak. buzzfeed news published great journalism. our reporters fought to keep it away from the jail bars of a paywall. news should be free, news should be accurate and nuanced, and even with all the mistakes of this brand, we did both. i hope you have enjoyed reading my reporting with buzzfeed news. this is not how i planned on these things ending, but i’m glad i got dumped off this ship with the best company.
so now i have time, so much time, dribbling through my hands. i will keep writing, here and elsewhere. i have some fiction that i want to let out of the locker. i have more essays that i hope to bring to other publications. i am if nothing but an incessant planner, and i hope this means now i will be able to work on some of the plans that fell to the wayside. i hope this means you’ll come along with me, too.
but for now, i will rest, and i will do what i always do. i will write.
see you soon,