'No haters' doesn't mean 'no criticism,' BuzzFeed CEO says

In an interview with Niklas Wirminghaus, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti explains the site's sunny outlook:

We sometimes use the phrase “no haters”. That doesn’t mean that we don’t do critical work. We just ran a profile of Donald Trump, which he was really upset with. He tweeted that Buzzfeed is a terrible, irrelevant site. But the piece was very fair. Or our piece about the terrible conditions in an Afghan military hospital that was in part run by the U.S. government. We ran that story with graphic pictures in it, exposing this terrible abuse. That’s not being a hater, that’s being a good journalist, that’s exposing corruption and wrongdoing. We do that as part of our mission.

Being a hater means writing a long thing about how a mediocre movie sucks. And in such a way that makes the author look cool. We don’t like that kind of stuff. There was a period on the internet in the mid-2000s when a lot of bloggers were very sarcastic and found everything shit. It was almost a lazy way of criticism. There’s lots of mediocre things in the world. Just ignore those things. We’re probably more generally positive than other publications. We do not think being critical in itself is a virtue. Being critical of a deserving target and exposing something real is a virtue. But we also think people are looking for things to enjoy and to celebrate. We want to show people things that are worth their time. We believe people are curious and want to discover new things.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com 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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