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by Della Cheshire
A news and entertainment website that gets millions of views every month. Thatâ€™s hiring reporters on an almost daily basis. Thatâ€™s opening offices around the world.
Now that is worth hearing about. So it wasnâ€™t surprising that 26 students, most of them fresh out of their reporting exam, attended UK news editor Richard Jamesâ€™s talk about the past, present and future of BuzzFeed at Brighton Journalist Works on Monday, November 17th.
Itâ€™s good to share
Richard kicked off by saying that the key to BuzzFeedâ€™s success is the ease with which its content can be shared on the web. He said: â€śWeâ€™re at the forefront of redefining the way that people consume and share news and news content online.â€ť
Having worked previously as deputy online editor of The Metro and for the Mail Online, he joined the eight-year-old company in March. He said: â€śEven in that time, itâ€™s come along in leaps and bounds.â€ť As one of more than 500 employees in offices worldwide, he said: â€śWeâ€™re becoming one of the biggest online publishers in the world.
â€śWe regularly get more traffic than places like the New York Times.â€ť
Let me entertain you
If youâ€™re familiar with BuzzFeed, you probably happened upon it through an entertainment quiz or list. Richard said: â€śWe still do an unbelievable amount of it because itâ€™s extremely popular. â€śItâ€™s our bread and butter really.â€ť
If youâ€™re not familiar â€“ take a look. You might recognize the font and style, or the conversational headlines. He said: â€śWe need our stories to stand out on your Facebook page or your Twitter feed.â€ť
Entertainment, BuzzFeedâ€™s original content, has evolved separate subsections as itâ€™s grown. He said: â€śWeâ€™re always looking for ways to kind of showcase this kind of content in a different way.â€ť And two further strands are now up and running â€“ videos and news.
Bucking the trend
Richard said that although BuzzFeed News covers a lot of topics, they donâ€™t feel obliged to cover everything. The key is whatâ€™s trending. And once theyâ€™ve identify that, they can devote time to investigating a story in depth, or to creating an explainer piece â€“ â€śEverything you need to know about x or yâ€ť.
And that topic is likely to have come from the social media audience BuzzFeed News is targeting, who share the same young demographic as his team of ten reporters. He said: â€śWe tend to aim it at that audience. â€śSo if we know a lot of people are talking about something on Tumblr, weâ€™ll be in touch with people on Tumblr and we will almost create it for them.â€ť
If youâ€™re interested in working for Buzzfeed, Richard made three recommendations:
â€˘ Be very active on all social media
â€˘ Apply for Buzzfeedâ€™s Fellowship programme
â€˘ Write for Buzzfeedâ€™s Community pages