BuzzFeed Canada closing Ottawa bureau
By H.G. Watson, Associate Editor
BuzzFeed Canada is closing their Ottawa bureau, the Globe and Mail reported June 28.
Politics editor Paul McLeod and reporter Emma Loop have been offered the option to relocate to Washington D.C., or severance packages, according to The Globe and Mail’s media reporter James Bradshaw.
In a BuzzFeed staff memo provided to J-Source by BuzzFeed, Scott Lamb, the vice-president of international editorial, described the change as “wrapping up” Canadian political coverage. “[Loop and McLeod’s] contributions have been significant, and it is our sincere hope we will be able to keep them both at BuzzFeed,” wrote Lamb.
McLeod confirmed on Twitter he would be moving to Washington D.C. to cover Capitol Hill on June 28.
But I’m also very excited to say that I’ll be moving to Washington not-the-state to cover Capitol Hill for BuzzFeed not-Canada.
— Paul McLeod (@pdmcleod) June 28, 2016
The Toronto team will reportedly stay intact, but now will have new “reporting lines” to editors in New York. BuzzFeed Canada editor Craig Silverman will lead the team, and launch a new BuzzFeed beat.
“We’ve decided to more closely align the efforts of our Toronto-based writers with our editorial team in New York, updating their reporting lines and opening up their editorial scope so they’re free to cover the topics that appeal to them from anywhere in the world, in addition to Canadian-centric content,” wrote Lamb in his memo.
On April 12, the Financial Times reported that BuzzFeed had not reached its projected revenue goal of US$250 million in 2015. Re/code reported that Kenneth Lerer, BuzzFeed chairman, disputed the report, saying that the company’s forecast had not changed.
Shortly after, Silverman told J-Source that most of his discussions with the head office had been around what hiring – might look like in the coming year, “rather than going the opposite direction.”
BuzzFeed Canada, which just recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, began with a commitment to covering Canadian politics. Silverman told J-Source that, with the office opening during an election year, it made sense to gear up to do political coverage.
“We felt that a federal election is a really good opportunity for a new news organization,” Silverman said in October 2015. “It’s very rare that you get an event where a good portion of the country’s attention is focused on one thing for a decent amount of time that has really huge implications across the country.”
H.G. Watson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter.
H.G. Watson was J-Source's managing editor from 2015 to 2018. She is a journalist based in Toronto. You can learn more about her at hgwatson.com.