BuzzFeed to open Washington, D.C., bureau

FishbowlDC | Fast Company

BuzzFeed's opening a D.C. bureau, BuzzFeed Editor Ben Smith tells Betsy Rothstein:

“I’m aiming to hire a talented, heavyweight player-coach as bureau chief, someone hungry and well sourced to do great original reporting on the Hill, and to send a reporter or two down after the campaign to cover the new, or continuing, administration,” Smith told FishbowlDC.

Smith says jobs at the bureau will be "some of the great jobs in D.C., because it’s going to be all about original reporting."

In a Q&A posted Monday, Smith talked about political writing at BuzzFeed:

"There’s not the kind of mass audience for political stories as for cute animals," he told Fast Company's David Zax. He said he worried that readers "prefer to share good things":

Any news organization has reporters who want to tell the truth to people and do great stories that are depressing, creepy, or disconcerting in a way no one wants to share. You can’t run a news organization trying to maximize the traffic on every story.

For what it's worth, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti thinks mood is less important than news. "Telling people something NEW is a great strategy if you want people to share your content," he wrote recently.

An alternate method of generating news: Threaten to open a D.C. bureau, as TMZ has been doing since 2007.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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