Janine Gibson departs BuzzFeed amid uncertainty

Janine Gibson departs Buzzfeed

BuzzFeed’s respected UK editor Janine Gibson has departed the company three years after joining.

Gibson arrived at the media outlet in 2016 after a 17-year stint at The Guardian and quickly made her mark. She was tasked with overhauling its coverage from being “just [about] cats," as explained to The Drum in a 2016 interview, to help it become a prestigious news outfit that would be a "consistent top tier, scoop-getting, disruptive, serious investigative part of people's lives".

On her departure, Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s editor in chief said working with Gibson had been “one of the real privileges of my career” and that under her watch it had “emerged as a pivotal voice on the biggest British story of the century ” for its coverage of Brexit, ”competing for head to head, and with a far smaller team, with a group of rivals who have been around for decades or centuries”.

Gibson’s next role is not yet known but reports have suggested she will not move to a rival publisher.

Her exit comes at a challenging time for BuzzFeed. The one-time darling of digital media has struggled to hit financial targets, missing its 2017 revenue goal of $350m, and has been forced to make a number of redundancies (cutting over a third of its UK team) as well as spike plans for an IPO.

In the UK, it recorded a pre-tax loss of £1.9m on turnover of £33.4m in 2017.

Uncertainty over its future has been further fuelled by reports that Jonah Peretti, founder and chief executive, is considering a merger with other titles (including Vice Media, Vox Media, Group Nine and Refinery29) in an effort to lobby for better terms with the likes of Facebook and Google.

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