Buzzfeed & HuffPost Layoffs: Should We Prepare to Mourn the Death of Digital Media?

Technology

Buzzfeed & HuffPost Layoffs: Should We Prepare to Mourn the Death of Digital Media?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

“C

hoose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” This saying, often misattributed to Confucius by people telling you to “just follow your dreams”, has acquired ominous significance for those who earn their daily bread and butter by writing online – especially in the wake of global layoffs at giants like Buzzfeed and Huffington Post.

Not having work is precisely the predicament facing approximately 250 employees of Buzzfeed globally, as well as about 800 employees of Verizon, which controls HuffPost, Yahoo, and AOL. The layoffs, which made international news, contain the portentous implication that digital publishing is not in the rude health most laypeople thought it enjoyed. What was most shocking to outsiders was how even Buzzfeed and HuffPost – both established leaders in the digital publishing field – were not immune to the vagaries of publishing today. These were websites that had supposedly cracked the code of how to succeed in publishing after the fall of print, but they came across as being as hapless as Rohit Sharma’s batting on an England tour.

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