BuzzFeed brings on Rolling Stone senior editor Doree Shafrir

The New York Times | Beta Beat

Brian Stelter reports that Doree Shafrir will expand culture coverage for BuzzFeed, which recently hired Ben Smith from Politico as editor-in-chief. A couple of reactions:

In an interview published earlier this week by Beta Beat, BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti said, "Right now our front page audience is people in their 20s and 30s who are culturally savvy or more coastal, like more big cities. ... A lot of them come to BuzzFeed to find things to share." So what's most shareable? "Novelty is viral; humor is often viral, as are things that inspire awe or a strong emotion other than sadness," Adrianne Jeffries reports.

A lot of Mr. Peretti’s strategy has to do with appealing to people’s vanity: You want them to feel good about themselves for discovering a thing and proud to be the first one to show it to their friends. That means that some things aren’t "shareable" -- sex tapes, nasty stories and celebrity dross, for instance, which Mr. Peretti calls "guilty pleasures." Those tend to be spread by email and word of mouth, which are much less contagious than social media.

Related: What Ben Smith and BuzzFeed are doing right (Mediaite) | BuzzFeed readers "consume serious news elsewhere" (Poynter)

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.


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