HuffPost is scaling back its operations to a skeleton team as part of its broader global strategy that sees the publisher “retreat to the US”, AdNews understands.
In the wake of the divorce from Fairfax, staff have been left rattled as their future with HuffPost is left uncertain with many speculating the operation would close completely.
AdNews understands it will remain in Australia with a presence of two or three local staff. The rest of the staff of about 25 people will be redeployed within Fairfax or made redundant.
The company is set to meet with individual staff today to discuss the future of the business and redundancy packages.
A source tells AdNews that HuffPost is shifting its focus back to the US not because the Australian team hasn’t delivered, but because the move aligns with the publisher’s global strategy.
A similar move was made by HuffPost in October, ending the joint venture with the Times of India. HuffPost India is still publishing, but with a reduced staff and its future is unclear.
Many employees took to Twitter to share their “last article” at HuffPost as well as make themselves available for new positions.
HuffPost sport and environment editor Anthony Sharwood said revelations that HuffPost was now "defunct" was “sudden and surprising”.
Editor Chris Paine said on Twitter he was “very, very sad” about the news, adding that the term ‘redundant is a misnomer for everyone at HuffPost’.
HuffPost's Paine declined to speak to AdNews but check out the tweets below.
Quite frankly I'm very, very sad. I couldn't be prouder of these people and what we've stood for. We, if I can say so, have done incredible work that has made its mark. Every moment a privilege.— Chris Paine (@chrisreespaine) November 29, 2017
A handful of other staff also took to Twitter to share their thoughts:
My final story for the suddenly (and very surprisingly) defunct @HuffPostAU has great footage which we took of the Pilliga, NSW, an inland wonder threatened by coal seam gas mining https://t.co/F82bAAFZ8E pic.twitter.com/iiZ7pEkplt— Anthony Sharwood (@antsharwood) November 29, 2017
this was my last story for @HuffPostAU as we know it, on an incredibly important issue.— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) November 29, 2017
I'm still pursuing stories on the topic of sexual assault and harassment in music - if you've got something to share, DM me or email. I'm not done with this.https://t.co/mBScdJEOSe
my time at @HuffPostAU has been one of the most rewarding professional experiences of my life. I can’t even put into words how lucky I have been to work with such a talented, generous and brilliant team. True bloody legends.— mat whitehead (@matwhi) November 29, 2017
A sad day for my @HuffPostAU colleagues and I, but I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had, all of which I made the very most of.— Tom Compagnoni (@TomCompagnoni) November 29, 2017
Every day of the past 2 years has been a joy thanks to the @HuffPostAU team. Talent, passion and integrity. If you're looking for a digtal gun to employ hit me up and I'll send the right one your way. As for me, I need a day or two off before finding the next challenge. Exhale...— Tory Maguire (@_Tors) November 29, 2017
I am so sad about the effective end of @HuffPostAU. It was a fabulous, talented, small team which was fun and did bloody brilliant journalism. As always, onwards and upwards.— Karen Barlow (@KJBar) November 29, 2017
Crummy day. Crummy news about @HuffPostAU but VERY proud to have build this thing from day 1 with some of the best pros in the industry. Thanks to all for the kind words, they are much appreciated.— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) November 29, 2017
Onward and upward, comrades pic.twitter.com/pSd8GIiiUV
Incredible journalism from @antsharwood and @TomCompagnoni. Watch this video and read this report, months in the making. This is what we do at @HuffPostAU. https://t.co/lDgEzIYteg pic.twitter.com/NaiweB9can— Chris Paine (@chrisreespaine) November 29, 2017
Working for @HuffPostAU has been the best welcome into the industry I could have ever had. To @_Tors, @chrisreespaine and @NicoletteLogue: I can’t thank you enough for all of your support. Today is a sad day, but I’m so, so thankful for the last 1.5 years.— Luke Cooper (@luke__cooper) November 29, 2017
Others in the media, such as News Corp’s Jamila Rizvi, took to Twitter to share their condolences to the HuffPost team:
Sad to hear the news on @HuffPostAU. It was one of the better news outlets and it certainly shook up Australia’s highly concentrated media scene. My thoughts with the editorial team - they’ve done great work in a short time but I hope their next career chapter is even better✌️— Elias Jahshan (@Elias_Jahshan) November 29, 2017
Thinking of all the @HuffPostAU staff tonight. A terribly talented team broken up too soon. Can't wait to see the excellent things they all do next.— Jamila Rizvi (@JamilaRizvi) November 29, 2017
V sad news about HuffPo. Already too few opportunities in this industry.— Osman Faruqi (@oz_f) November 29, 2017
A lot of really good @HuffPostAU people and writers are going to be losing their jobs today through no fault of their own.— Rob Stott (@Rob_Stott) November 29, 2017
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