According to hacked DNC emails published by Wikileaks, BuzzFeed president Greg Coleman made a $10,000 donation to the Democratic National Committee on May 23 for an event hosted by BuzzFeed chairman Ken Lerer and attended by President Obama—just two weeks before BuzzFeed’s advertising department canceled a $1.3 million ad deal with the Republican National Committee.
Earlier this week, Ze Frank—the leader of BuzzFeed’s burgeoning video empire, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures—issued a public memo to his employees explaining the terms of their employment. The crux of the memo—the necessity of which was sparked by Frank firing two women for appearing in videos produced by other companies—comes when he states what BuzzFeed Motion Pictures employees owe to their employer:
After Elena Kadvany, a writer for the local site Palo Alto Online, published the moving letter a sexual assault survivor read aloud in court to the man who raped her, BuzzFeed writer Katie J. M. Baker also published the letter for BuzzFeed’s much larger audience. It was a worthwhile way to use a huge platform, which Baker did with skill and sensitivity. Millions read it, including me, millions were moved, including me, and the appealing justice of “awareness” was served.
This morning, BuzzFeed announced it has killed a deal with the Republican National Committee to run ads across the website throughout this election season. In an email to staff, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said that the company decided to end the agreement because Donald Trump is simply too offensive:
On Friday, Gawker reported that YouTube and Facebook would simultaneously livestream BuzzFeed’s live interview with the President of the United States, which took place today at 2:50 p.m. But it turns out that only the former service was able to hold up their end of the bargain. As you can see in the video below, Facebook Live abruptly stopped working before the interview even began.
We are, right now, in the midst of a digital media upheaval. What was previously conventional wisdom—that a media company with hopes of turning a profit needs, above all, to achieve scale—is being proven false. The new conventional wisdom is that video will be digital media’s savior, but it is only a matter of time before this is proven false too.
Last Friday, the media industry toasted BuzzFeed for successfully drawing the attention of nearly 800,000 Facebook users to a livestream of two employees wrapping hundreds of rubber bands around a watermelon until the fruit exploded. The gambit capped another quarter of widespread confidence in BuzzFeed’s business model, which sells native advertising against a mix of silly listicles and enterprise reporting published on an ever-increasing number of third-party platforms, with everything heavily underwritten by periodic injections of venture capital.
BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith has an inside baseball report about a January 5 meeting between Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and the editorial board of The New York Times. According to Smith, many Times employees believe Trump conveyed to the paper—during a portion of the meeting deemed off-the-record —that his extreme policy positions on immigration are more flexible than he’s publicly admitted. Still, the Times refuses to release a transcript of the meeting, or even discuss Trump’s off-the-record comments:
The year 2015 was the year female journalists let their boyfriends dress them for content. The trend began last February, when xoJane published a personal essay titled, “I Let My Boyfriend Dress Me for a Week,” by Kelsey Lawrence. In order to promote honesty in their relationship, Lawrence wrote, she asked her boyfriend to pick out her outfits each day for a week, and he did.
In an email to editorial staff on Tuesday, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith addressed questions about whether expressing opinions about Donald Trump violates company ethics guidelines governing political partisanship on social media. (Smith’s ruling: it doesn’t.) The email was leaked to The Blaze.
Li Hongjun did not usually take selfies. But out in the orange grove, he was not in his usual state of mind. It was early February, and the lunar New Year was approaching. It’s considered good luck to set out a bowl of oranges during the Chinese holiday, so Li, figuring he could use some luck, decided to buy some for his restaurant, the Jade Tea Farmhouse, located on a dusty road in little-known Wuhua County, population 1.3 million, in Guangdong Province.