Welcome to BuzzFeed’s new original political reporting, the first in a series of new sections we are adding to the site this year that will meld clear, smart, and funny journalism into the vital, churning mix that is BuzzFeed, with the aim of creating the first pure social news organization.
We’re coming to this big shift from an incredibly successful year: In December, BuzzFeed’s biggest month ever, users of social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and StumbleUpon shared BuzzFeed content at an unprecedented rate, with more than 20 million visitors coming to BuzzFeed from social sites alone. And this is the first step in BuzzFeed’s growth this year from being the place where you find the hottest, smartest, and funniest content on the Web to also reporting out original news stories and answering hard questions.
We’re basing our work on the reality that readers already – and increasingly – get news from their friends on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere on the social web. Today, BuzzFeed is one of the only publishers getting more traffic from Facebook than from Google — but we expect this shift to happen to other sites as our industry moves towards social media. We’re excited to take advantage of this massive shift to help create a new model of great original journalism.
The changes begin on January 1, with politics, but we will continue to launch new sections and hire top reporters through 2012 and beyond.
We’re hitting the ground running hard in Iowa because that’s where the action is today: Editor-in-chief Ben Smith, reporter Zeke Miller, who has been tearing it up on Twitter and at Business Insider, and Internet-breaking BuzzFeed native Matt Stopera will be here in Des Moines through the caucuses on January 3. Rosie Gray, who has made her bones covering Occupy Wall Street for the Village Voice will pick up the ball in New Hampshire on January 4. And McKay Coppins, who broke the story on Jon Huntsman’s candidacy and has chronicled the “Mormon Moment” for Newsweek, arrives in Manchester, N.H., for us just in time for the January 7 debate.
Meanwhile, Andrew Kaczynski couldn’t wait for his official start date to share with BuzzFeed his deep grasp on the whereabouts of every video ever uploaded to the Internet, and has already shaken up the political conversation with videos of Ron Paul taking credit for controversial newsletters and of Newt Gingrich praising the individual mandate in health care.
We’ll be joined by a couple more voices this week: The Twitter wit @nycsouthpaw will be bringing us his version of the White House Flickr feed.
And we’re thrilled to announce that John Ellis, a man with deep experience in the media and campaigns, and with politics in his blood, will be contributing occasional columns, handing down his startlingly lucid takes in this space as often as we can convince him to, but no more than weekly.
All that is new. And the great political coverage you’ve already seen on BuzzFeed won’t go away, from Gavon Laessig’s sharp crystallization of a recent moment in Manchester to Dorsey Shaw’s fast and funny video editing, Jack Shepherd’s catalogue of photographs of an increasingly heavily armed Rick Perry, and Jack Moore’s trove of incredulous servicemember’s reactions to Joe Biden’s comments on the Taliban.
The luxury of writing for the social web, and the real conversation, is that we will put our resources into what reporters love to do: Reporting. We are going to focus on original reporting and sharp analysis that adds to the conversation you’re already having, and doesn’t just repeat it. We’ll also test the boundaries of convention, while hewing to the values of great journalism. And while we begin with politics, we’re not going to stop there: We’ll be hiring and expanding aggressively this year in several directions. Send us your ideas for new subjects BuzzFeed should cover, your suggestions for reporters who belong in this space, and your resumes if you’re one of them.
So, see you on Iowa, in New Hampshire, and on the Internet.