BuzzFeed News Unit Statement on Suspension of AM to DM
This week, we learned that BuzzFeed will be suspending production of our news show AM to DM, as well as another show that was in development, as a result of Twitter’s decision to stop providing funding for the projects. This is a devastating blow to our colleagues on the production teams who are losing their jobs, and a huge loss for the newsroom. AM to DM is a brilliant, innovative show that has broken news, brought joy to thousands of viewers, and helped share our reporting with the world for more than two years.
The BuzzFeed News Union has been deeply frustrated by the company’s refusal to recognize that the writers, hosts and producers who have worked so hard on AM to DM and the rest of our original video programming are an integral part of our unionized newsroom. These colleagues have worked side by side with us, many of them all day and every day, but most remain classified as freelance contractors without the benefits or job security that the rest of us receive. That the company is not offering severance or any support beyond this month to those who worked on AM to DM or our other Twitter show as essentially full-time freelancers — as they face the prospect of navigating a pandemic without income or affordable health insurance — adds insult to injury.
We are well aware that the coronavirus crisis is requiring many companies to make cuts, and our unit members willingly accepted salary reductions this month in order to help BuzzFeed manage costs and avoid layoffs. We know that decisions made by Twitter, or any other financial partner, are not within BuzzFeed leadership’s control.
But a constantly shifting landscape of partnership deals is not a justification for classifying long-term full-time employees as temporary contractors. It’s not a justification for keeping people in the dark about the status of the projects they work on, and whether or not their jobs will continue to exist, until the 11th hour. And it’s not a justification for denying them the severance and other benefits that are offered to employees elsewhere in the company.
We stand in solidarity and sympathy with everyone who lost their jobs this week. We hope that the company will revive AM to DM in the future and we strongly urge BuzzFeed’s leadership to meet a higher and fairer standard for how they treat our hardworking colleagues on the Studios team, now and going forward.
—The BuzzFeed News Union Unit Council
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