BuzzFeed no longer buzzworthy

BuzzFeed no longer buzzworthy

BuzzFeed no longer buzzworthy

A media watchdog isn't surprised that a pioneer in online journalism is shutting down.

BuzzFeed Chief Executive Jonah Peretti announced last week that the digital news site will shut down. The move is reportedly part of broader layoffs, Peretti said in a memo to staffers, with the company moving to slash 15% of its workforce, or 180 employees.

BuzzFeed News expanded its social media footprint in 2011, when it went from what it calls "listicles" – articles written in list format – to hard news. Tim Graham of Media Research Center says the problem is it was news with a bias, and the editorial choices were sometimes questionable.

Graham, Tim (MRC) Graham

"To many of us, BuzzFeed News was best known for publishing the entire Steele Dossier, as it was called, full of these wild allegations about Trump being a tool of the Russians," Graham recalls.

But he submits that the demise of BuzzFeed News has less to do with its liberal spin and more to do with economic realities.

"I'm guessing this isn't particularly ideological. I think that if you're a news outlet that's coming up with scoops that progressives want to read, they would be fine," says Graham.

However, the environment of late has been tough for news organizations across the board. NPR, for example, just laid off 10% of its workforce, and Vice News is said to be desperately looking for a buyer. Likewise on the conservative side, nearly every news site is struggling to get clicks.

Graham says Americans on both sides of the aisle have short attention spans, and most of the time, they never get beyond a headline or a Twitter post.

"I think the real problem for the news business today is that so many people are getting dribs and drabs in their social media," he concludes. "They want sort of the sportscasting of politics."