The News Goes Dark

Ever since the Clinton gang made it possible for corporations to own the news and the rise of the internet providing news of the day newsrooms have been in a bit of bother……slowly but slowly the public is losing those small news operations that cannot compete with the corporations and their influence.

Just last week the news broke that BuzzFeed was shuddering their news room….

BuzzFeed News is being shut down, BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti announced in an email sent to staff on Thursday. He wrote that “we are reducing our workforce by approximately 15% today across our Business, Content, Tech, and Admin teams, and beginning the process of closing BuzzFeed News.” He continued, “HuffPost and BuzzFeed Dot Com have signaled that they will open a number of select roles for members of BuzzFeed News. … Moving forward, we will have a single news brand in HuffPost, which is profitable, with a loyal direct front page audience.”

Last month, CNBC reported BuzzFeed was slimming down its roughly 100-person news department through voluntary buyouts offered to what sources said was about a third of those employees. CNBC noted that investors had lobbied to have the entire newsroom shut down. Sources said it was losing $10 million annually, and that killing it off would increase the company’s market cap by $300 million; CNBC reports shares had crashed 90% since its IPO. The company shut down its news app at the beginning of the month.

CNBC reporter Alex Sherman called Peretti’s email an “unusually apologetic note by a CEO.” After outlining the challenges that have battered the company (ranging from COVID to a slew of economic headwinds), Peretti writes that “I also want to be clear: I could have managed these changes better as the CEO of this company and our leadership team could have performed better despite these circumstances.” He faulted a slow integration of the company’s two business organizations, BuzzFeed and Complex and a “decision to overinvest in BuzzFeed News because I love their work and mission so much.”

“This made me slow to accept that the big platforms wouldn’t provide the distribution or financial support required to support premium, free journalism purpose-built for social media,” he continued. “More broadly, I regret that I didn’t hold the company to higher standards for profitability, to give us the buffer needed to manage through economic and industry downturns and avoid painful days like today. … I’ve learned from these mistakes … It might not feel this way today, but I am confident the future of digital media is ours for the taking. Our industry is hurting and ready to be reborn. We are taking great pains today, and will begin to fight our way to a bright future.”

Now news has broken that another small news operation will no longer be available…..Vice

Vice, the media company that went from a Montreal punk magazine more than 20 years ago to a juggernaut with a $5.7 billion valuation, is the latest member of the Fourth Estate to be on the brink of going belly up. The New York Times, citing three “people with knowledge” but not authorization to blab publicly, reports the company is currently shopping for a buyer but preparing for bankruptcy in the event that doesn’t happen. It’s quite a trajectory: Vice dazzled among new media companies, raising huge amounts of funding from the likes of Disney and Fox, and expanding into global bureaus, an HBO show, and even a movie studio.

“Vice Media Group has been engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of strategic alternatives and planning,” Vice said in a statement. “The company, its board and stakeholders continue to be focused on finding the best path.” The Times notes that a bankruptcy filing could give control of Vice to its biggest debt-holder, Fortress Investment Group, which holds “senior” debt over Fox and Disney—also meaning that Fortress is at the front of the line to get paid if Vice should sell. Quartz notes that it’s been a rough stretch for media, with BuzzFeed shutting down its news operation last month, and the likes of FiveThirtyEight, Gannett, National Geographic, NPR, the Washington Post, and Vox all rattled by layoffs in the past several months.

Vice filed for bankruptcy as expected Monday morning, the latest large media company to go under. In this case, it appears that a group of Vice lenders including Soros Fund Management and Fortress Investment Group will attempt the buy the company with a credit bid of $225 million, reports CNBC. All of which cements “Vice’s status among the most notable bad bets in the media industry,” per the New York Times.

It appears that the elimination of the more independent journalists has begun and the winners will always be the corporate media.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


4 thoughts on “The News Goes Dark

  1. It’s the same here. The alternative news sites online are being forced to shut down because the advertisers are ‘strangely disappearing’, and they are going bust financially. . MI6/MI5 is doing a good job, it would seem.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. MSM media giving the world only what they want us to see….the truth is out there and those sites that are probing the truth are struggling and disappearing……this is what we get when corporations own the news. chuq

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