BuzzFeed is getting an opinion section that will be headed up by Tom Gara, who is moving over from his role as business editor to serve as opinion editor, beginning July 10. Gara joined BuzzFeed in 2014 from The Wall Street Journal, initially as the site’s deputy business editor.
What does a BuzzFeed opinion section look like? The answer to that comes from BuzzFeed editor in chief Ben Smith in a memo to staff, posted on Twitter by CNN’s Oliver Darcy.
“Our goal is to address the rapidly changing world and contextualize it in ways that help our readers make sense of what the hell is happening,” writes Smith.
He references a particular set of works as an example of his vision for the section, where hot takes are frowned upon. “You can think of the entertaining and deeply informed pieces we’ve published recently from Zeynep Tufekci as a model of what we’re hoping to pull off here in terms of velocity and impact on the conversation.”
The pair of pieces from Tufecki, an academic and writer, include one addressed to France, second-person style, after then-candidate, now President Emmanuel Macron’s emails got hacked ahead of the country’s election. “This is a plea,” she wrote. “Do not get played the way the US press got played, gullibly falling into the trap set for it.” The second was about how ISIS crafts its attacks for maximum media attention, which it gets. (Did you spot the theme?)
While it is often BuzzFeed’s way of doing things that gets imitated elsewhere in the media, here it is BuzzFeed that is following a lot of other outlets who have expanded their opinion sections as those voice- and piece-of-mind-heavy pieces have become a strong source of click generation in the Trump era.