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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Smith’

BuzzFeed Fires Staffer for 40 Instances of Plagiarism

BuzzFeedLogoIt looks like the magic number was 40. BuzzFeed has decided to fire its viral politics editor, Benny Johnson, after finding that many instances of plagiarism in his work.

In a note to readers, BuzzFeed’s editor Ben Smith — who previously brushed off three examples of Johnson’s plagiarism — said the buck stopped with him and the site’s other editors:

We owe you, our readers, an apology. This plagiarism is a breach of our fundamental responsibility to be honest with you — in this case, about who wrote the words on our site. Plagiarism, much less copying unchecked facts from Wikipedia or other sources, is an act of disrespect to the reader. We are deeply embarrassed and sorry to have misled you. Benny’s editors — I, Katherine Miller, John Stanton, Shani Hilton, and McKay Coppins — bear real responsibility.

In a memo provided to FishbowlNY by BuzzFeed, Smith elaborated on the situation. You can read it below.

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BuzzFeed is Totally Cool with Plagiarism [Updated]

BuzzFeedLogoAccording to Gawker, BuzzFeed’s viral politics editor Benny Johnson was caught plagiarizing material three different times. To make matters worse, Johnson copied material from Yahoo! Answers of all places.

You would think this would warrant some type of disciplinary action, but nope! This is BuzzFeed. When your site is known for churning out shit content, it doesn’t really matter if some of it was stolen.

In an email to Gawker, Ben Smith — BuzzFeed’s editor — shrugged his shoulders at the incidents:

We’re grateful to @blippoblappo and @crushingbort for pointing out these serious failures to properly attribute two quotations and to credit a source in a third post. We’ve corrected the posts.

Benny Johnson is one of the web’s deeply original writers, as is clear from his body of work.

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A Consolidation of Brooklyn Hyper-Local

BensonhurstBeanBannerThis particular media merger did not exactly make headlines. But you can bet any and all interested in the future of hyper-local will be paying close attention.

From metropolitan news reporter Vivian Yee‘s article in the New York Times:

Last week, [Ned] Berke merged Sheepshead Bites and its sister site, Bensonhurst Bean, into Corner Media, a network of neighborhood blogs run by Liena Zagare that will now reach a combined 250,000 readers every month. Zagare and Berke, who is a senior editor as well as an associate publisher of the network, say their approach — intensely local, intimate and community-based, with a heart — is the future of hyper-local journalism, a business that industry watchers have long forecast as the future of journalism itself.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: ABC News, CPI Spar | FNC to Debut Daytime Ensemble | Discovery Drops U.K. Bid

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ABC News Asking Center for Public Integrity to Share Pulitzer Prize (TVNewser)
ABC News is calling on the Center for Public Integrity to share its Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism, awarded to CPI’s Chris Hamby, taking issue with CPI’s Pulitzer submission that depicts ABC News as a minor partner in a year-long coal-mining industry investigation instead of equal partners. HuffPost Network president Ben Sherwood sent a four-page letter to CPI’s executive director Bill Buzenberg affirming that ABC News was CPI’s partner in the investigation. He argued that reporters Brian Ross and Matthew Mosk made “significant contributions” without which CPI would not have won the Pulitzer. He added that while the prizes are only awarded to print organizations, he hoped the Pulitzer committee would recognize Ross and Mosk. Mediaite In the letter, Sherwood said Buzenberg “omitted the names of ABC News reporters and sought to parse and diminish their contributions, even though their bylines appropriately appear on four of the eight articles submitted by the Center to the committee.” Poynter In response, Buzenberg provided a point-by-point rebuttal saying CPI reporter Chris Hamby was the engine behind the story for months before ABC entered the investigation and in long stretches when ABC was working on other things. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media CPI and ABC News have shared recognition for the black lung benefits story in the past. In March, the Harvard Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting was awarded to Chris Hamby, Ronnie Greene, Jim Morris and Chris Zubak-Skees of CPI and Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz of ABC News. Next month, the White House Correspondents’ Association will honor “The Center for Public Integrity, in partnership with ABC News.” On Wednesday, they received an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Television news organizations are excluded from the Pulitzer Prizes, which honor newspaper and digital reporting.

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BuzzFeed Australia Launches

SimonCrerarPicWhen BuzzFeed first formalized its plans to expand past the UK and into the glorious Down Under, EIC Ben Smith suggested that “Australia — with its humor and beauty and sense of the absurd and love of the social web — is basically BuzzFeed Nation already.” Probably true; and now that January 31 has rolled around over the distant international horizon, we can all start determining if Smith was correct with his optimistic assessment.

At the helm of BuzzFeed Australia is Simon Crerar (pictured), formerly visual story director for News Corp Australia. Together with staff writer Jenna Guillaume, he curates the site’s Twitter feed – @BuzzFeedOz - and the pair have been teasing some early looks at content.

On the cheeky media coverage front, one BuzzFeed AU item has seven suggestions as to how national TV network ABC can become more favorably aligned with the country that it serves. Another article runs down “21 Reasons Karl Stefanovic is the Greatest Australian Journalist of All Time.” Reasons include:

Incredible rapport with his [Nine Network Today show] co-anchors…

No matter how challenging, his coverage is always rousing…

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Matt Yglesias Named Executive Editor of Ezra Klein’s New Vox Media Venture

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Matt Yglesias will serve as executive editor of the new Vox Media venture founded by Ezra Klein, FishbowlNY has learned.

“That is my title,” Yglesias confirmed to FishbowlNY in an email Monday morning. “Now obviously the website itself needs a name and I suppose titles could change too as we build out the team, but ‘executive editor’ is the title Ezra and Melissa and I have had down on paper for me for months.”

Klein will be editor-in-chief.

Slate’s prolific economics blogger announced last week that he would join Klein, The Washington Post who recently quit to start his own publication with staff from his popular policy site, Wonkblog.

“There’s not much to say at this point,” Yglesias told The New York Times last Thursday, declining to provide details of his new position, “other than that I’m very excited to be part of this team and we’re hoping to announce some more stuff in the near future.”

But when Klein announced in a post on The Verge on Sunday that he would launch his new site with Vox, he and Yglesias chimed into the comments below. And, thanks to Vox’s comment system, which verifies official authors with a checkmark and job title, Yglesias revealed his role as executive editor.

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Wired Puts Jonah Peretti on the Cover

WiredFeb2014CoverIs there, at this point, anything left to learn about BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti and the inner workings of his Wonka-esque viral factory? Let’s take a look.

For the February Wired UK cover story, editor David Rowan notes that the conference rooms at BuzzFeed’s new offices at 200 Fifth Avenue are all named in honor of ragingly successful Internet memes like “Princess Monster Truck” and “Grumpy Cat.” There is also mention of The Golden Rules of Shareability, the gobstopper document given to every new BuzzFeed employee.

But the meat of the Wired article is about how BuzzFeed’s evolution has led it to a place where it’s no longer just a matter of the total number of article page-views. If for example a longer-form item is reaching the right niche of readers, it can be deemed a SlamDunk:

“Ben [Smith] drilled into me that if you’re doing something that will get only 50,000 views, that’s fine – as long as our piece is optimized to get all 50,000 who should see it,” says Shani Hilton, deputy executive editor, previously at NBC in Washington, and whose beat now includes tech, LGBT, fashion and sport.

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Friends, Colleagues Remember New York Observer Editor Peter Kaplan

As the sad news of the passing at age 59 from cancer of Peter Kaplan spread Friday, current Observer senior editor Colin Campbell suggested “there’s no better source on Mr. Kaplan than the editor himself.” And so, Campbell for his first piece chose to republish Kaplan’s 2008 tribute to New York magazine founder Clay Felker.

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BuzzFeed’s Doree Shafrir meanwhile led off her memories with what she deemed a typically “quirky” Kaplan hiring experience:

In July 2007, when I was a writer for Gawker, I got an email from Nikki Finke that said in the subject line: “Peter Kaplan called and asked who to hire as his media writer/editor. I said you.” And so a few days later I got coffee with Peter at Le Pain Quotidien on 19th Street between Park and Broadway, just down the block from the old Observer offices, and a few weeks later, after several back-and-forths about what the job was (I was to be writing about “ideas”) and how much money I would be making (not very much), I was hired.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: PDaily Buys NSFW Corp | Duffy Slams BuzzFeed | NYT Shuffles Media Desk

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PandoDaily Acquires NSFW Corp to Double Down on Investigative Reporting (PandoDaily)
There are three people who have long been on my dream team to help me build PandoDaily. One of them I’ve still gotta work on. The second is Mike Tatum, who keeps saying no and then keeps doing work for us for free anyway. The third is joining us by way of acquisition. I’m sure regular readers can guess who I am talking about: Paul Carr. I’m thrilled to announce that PandoDaily has reached a deal to acquire his company, NSFW Corp. FishbowlNY The deal comes on the heels of a recent chronicling on PandoDaily of Carr’s journalism crowd-funding efforts. Looks like he just accelerated that initiative and we are personally thrilled that NSFW Corp will live on. The Guardian Carr’s last venture was surprisingly old-school. NSFW Corp, a news site that billed itself as “The Economist written by the Daily Show,” put out a print magazine — and it even put up a paywall. Despite winning fans, it didn’t make money. Poynter / MediaWire NSFW Corp tried to raise money to keep going independently in September. It laid off three people earlier in November.

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Glenn Greenwald Leaving Guardian for ‘Once-in-a-Career Dream Journalistic Opportunity’

GleenGreenwaldTwitterProfilePicSome very big journalism news is being broken this afternoon by BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith. Although major details are still to be announced, the gist is that Glenn Greenwald is leaving The Guardian:

Greenwald declined to comment on the precise scale of the new venture or on its budget, but he said it would be “a very well-funded… very substantial new media outlet.” He said the source of funding will be public when the venture is officially announced.

“My role, aside from reporting and writing for it, is to create the entire journalism unit from the ground up by recruiting the journalists and editors who share the same journalistic ethos and shaping the whole thing — but especially the political journalism part — in the image of the journalism I respect most,” he said.

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