BuzzFeed News Cuts Podcast Production Team

BuzzFeed logoBuzzFeed is cutting its in-house podcast production team and is shifting to creating original shows similar to the ones it produces for Netflix, Twitter and Facebook. This was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Vice President of News and Programming at BuzzFeed News, Shani Hilton, said in a memo to staff that most of Buzzfeed’s podcasts would be shutting down. This includes See Something Say Something, The News, and Reporting To You.

See Something Say Something was hosted by Ahmed Ali Akbar. In the podcast, he covered everything that American Muslims are talking about right now. Topics included misrepresentation in the media, equality in the mosque, Asahd memes, and much more.

The News was hosted by BuzzFeed News reporters, who released a show every Saturday about the latest news. It was described as “news that’s smart, not stuffy.”

Reporting to You was the Buzzfeed News daily news and culture debrief. It was hosted by the BuzzFeed News team. New episodes were released every weekday with a summary of what you need to know.

On September 19, 2018, Tracy Clayton (@brokeymcpoverty), who hosted Another Round with Heben Nigatu, tweeted: “ADDITIONAL INFO RE: BUZZFEED’S PODCAST CUTS: i am also being let go. as of october 21, my position is being eliminated, and i will be leaving the company. as my name was not in the internal email detailing this fact, i was only now made aware through clarification.”

On September 20, 2018, the BuzzFeed News PodSquad posted a tweet that included the following: “@BuzzFeedNews has made the decision to dissolve our team and end most of our shows with it, including The News, Reporting to You, and @seesomething. @ThirstAidKit will continue through the rest of its season.” The next tweet in the thread included: “Our producers are now looking for work.”

Thirst Aid Kit is hosted by Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins. They explore the public ways that women express their desire, particularly in this moment when we are all asking more pointed questions about Hollywood, representation, and opportunity. The show included an examination of why we desire who we desire, original fanfic, and fantasies “that take us by surprise.”

The Wall Street Journal article stated that the cuts would only affect “a handful of employees”. BuzzFeed News still plans to continue producing podcasts, but without a dedicated in-house production team (according to a representative from BuzzFeed).

I noticed that the hosts of See Something, Say Something, Another Round, and Thirst Aid Kit are all people of color, four of whom are black women. It wasn’t clear to me who was hosting The News or Reporting to You.

Another Round has Parted Ways with BuzzFeed

Another Round is hosted by Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton. It started in 2015 and was one of the BuzzFeed podcasts. In a tweet that was posted on the Another Round verified Twitter account, it was announced that Another Round is parting ways with BuzzFeed.

The tweet was posted on the Another Round podcast on December 20, 2017.

Here are some key parts of the statement:

Due to strategic changes at BuzzFeed, Another Round is parting ways with the company in 2018. We were surprised and initially disappointed to hear of these changes, but fortunately, we were offered ownership of the show.

Naturally, we accepted. This whole thing started as an experiment in a “studio” made of pillows and blankets swiped from around the office and it grew into a space of acceptance and self-care for those who need it, a place to duck into and laugh when the world is too much, and a stage where the overlooked and silenced can see themselves and their stories reflected at long last. The world needs spaces like these now more than ever because in these tough times it’s community that will get us through, and the amazing community that we’ve all built together is too meaningful for us to walk away from.

Fans of Another Round can listen to the latest episode to hear a few more details about this change. Don’t unsubscribe from the podcast feed. All future updates will appear there.

The 2016 Gracie Awards Included Podcasts

Alliance for Women in Media logoAlliance for Women in Media is an organization for women, run by women. They are committed to supporting women across all media segments, to expand networks, educate and celebrate accomplishments. They have been advancing women in media for six decades.

Alliance for Women organizes The Gracie Awards. The Gracies were named after the late Gracie Allen. The Gracies acknowledge outstanding team leadership and individual achievement, focus on women who are making positive change and who further the discussion of what a fulfilling career in media looks like.

This year, The Gracie Awards included some podcasters.

* Anna Sale, host of Death, Sex & Money (WYNC Radio) won the Podcast Host Gracie.

* Hollywood Hookups and Breakups with Cooper and Vikki (Blog Talk Radio) won the Podcast Gracie.

* Woman of the Hour, hosted by Lena Dunham and produced by Jenna Weiss -Berman (Buzzfeed) won the GRAND WINNER Gracie.

* Jenna Weiss-Berman, Woman of the Hour producer won the Producer Gracie.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, it was stated that Jenna Weiss-Berman is leaving Buzzfeed so she can work on her new company that she cofounded with Max Linsky (of the Longform Podcast). Their new company is called Pineapple Street Media. It is a podcast company, and their first podcasts will be available in late this summer.

BuzzFeed Moves Into Podcasting

BuzzFeed logoQuarter one of 2015 has been a busy time for established media companies starting up their own podcasts. The trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down as listicle-driven blog site BuzzFeed just launched some podcasts of its own. The New York based company moved into the medium with two shows. One is called Internet Explorer and the other is named Another Round. Both are hosted by BussFeed staff members.

As the name suggests, Internet Explorer (no relation to the web browser with the same name) is a show that plays on one of BuzzFeed’s biggest strengths; unusual and/or interesting things that come from the farthest reaches of the Internet. Another Round is a show hosted by two women that focuses on race, gender and related cultural issues.

BuzzFeed is somewhat notorious for its “more page views at all costs” business model. But running in contradiction to that philosophy, these new podcasts won’t immediately run any advertising. It’s a curious move on BuzzFeed’s part. Perhaps the company is hoping to build an audience on the back of the ad-free content, and then start running ads after subscribers are already hooked on the content. It feels like an old fashioned approach in a time when the rush to monetize podcasts is moving faster than ever.

If you’d like to check out these new offerings from BuzzFeed, they’re available thru iTunes and presumably, most other popular podcasting directories. I couldn’t find dedicated pages for the shows on BuzzFeed’s website. I guess that’s the part of their launch plan that didn’t include some of that old fashioned thinking.