When BuzzFeed announced last year that it would buy HuffPost, it was expected that cost-cutting would follow the completion of the deal. On Tuesday, less than a month after the acquisition went through, BuzzFeed laid off 47 workers at HuffPost and closed the publication’s Canadian edition.
At a virtual company meeting, BuzzFeed’s chief executive, Jonah Peretti, said the layoffs were meant to stem losses at HuffPost. HuffPost, which was previously owned by Verizon Media, lost more than $20 million last year and was on track to lose the same amount this year, Mr. Peretti told the staff according to an account of the meeting provided by BuzzFeed.
Employees were given a password to enter the meeting — “spr!ngisH3r3,” a variation on the phrase “spring is here.” The staff members were then informed that if they did not receive an email by 1 p.m., their jobs were safe. The website Defector first reported on the password and other details of the meeting, which were confirmed by two people who attended the meeting and spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. A BuzzFeed spokesman told The New York Times that the company regretted the password’s tone.
The HuffPost Union, which is affiliated with the Writers Guild of America East, said in a statement that the layoffs had affected 33 of its members, nearly a third of the local union. “We are devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home,” the union said in a statement.
As part of the cutbacks, BuzzFeed closed HuffPost Canada and announced plans to decrease the size of its operations in Australia and Britain, the BuzzFeed spokesman said. At the end of the austerity measures, HuffPost would still have a larger newsroom than BuzzFeed News, the spokesman added.
In the meeting, Mr. Peretti said that HuffPost’s executive editor, Hillary Frey, and its international executive editor, Louise Roug, would soon leave the company. HuffPost has been without an editor in chief since Lydia Polgreen departed a year ago to become the head of content at Gimlet Media, a Spotify-owned podcasting company. Mr. Peretti said he expected to announce Ms. Polgreen’s successor in the coming weeks.
Whoever takes the job will report to Mark Schoofs, BuzzFeed News’s editor in chief. At the meeting, Mr. Peretti reiterated that BuzzFeed and HuffPost would remain distinct from each other, with separate editorial staffs.
Disneyland, which has been closed for a year, will reopen in late April.
Bob Chapek, the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, announced the time frame on Tuesday at the company’s annual shareholder meeting but did not give a specific date.
California officials announced on Friday that theme parks in the state could reopen on a limited basis as soon as April 1. Eligibility, however, will depend on coronavirus transmission statistics in individual counties.
For instance, theme parks in counties where the virus threat remains the most severe (in the purple tier under the state’s system) must remain closed. But parks in areas where the threat of infection has eased somewhat (red tier) will be allowed to reopen at 15 percent capacity. Even less threat (orange tier) will allow for 25 percent capacity, ultimately rising to 35 percent for the lowest threat (yellow).
California will restrict attendance to in-state visitors. Regulators will also restrict indoor dining. Some indoor rides may be required to remain closed.
Disneyland is in Orange County, which is in the purple tier. But if coronavirus cases continue to decline in Southern California at the current pace, the county could fall within the orange tier by late April. The Walt Disney Company said last year that reopening a park at less than 25 percent capacity would not make economic sense.
Before the pandemic, roughly 32,000 people worked at the 486-acre Disneyland Resort, which includes two separately ticketed theme parks, three Disney-owned hotels and an outdoor shopping mall. Some furloughed employees have already returned; the Downtown Disney retail district, for instance,…