11 Scenes From the Bowels of the Buzzfeed Party

 

By Betsy Rothstein and Eddie Scarry

Buzzfeed‘s Washington Bureau officially popped its cork last night with a packed party at the U Street haunt Brixton, where a DJ spun vinyl records thanks to Bureau Chief John Stanton.

11. Trying to get anyone at the party, but especially Buzzfeed underlings, to trash talk Editor Ben Smith, in from Manhattan, wasn’t easy. Slate‘s most weigelicious reporter Dave Weigel (pictured at right with Michael Hastings), a longtime, intense Smith fan, remarked, “I think Ben is creating a good news organization in a tabloidy sort of way. They’ve captured what people like about the news. I’m a big fan of what they’re doing. I completely, seriously and unironically think it’s really good.” Weigel, in an unironic black  golf shirt and jeans, looked in his element in the divey scene, sipping on a Hendrick’s martini. At one point he offered a rather complex tirade on the bar’s eclectic drink menu (we caught about half of it). At about 7:40 p.m. he said, “You know you’re in D.C. when some douche says, ‘You going to the convention?'” This came after he asked if we’d be attending the party conventions.

10. Buzzfeed‘s Michael Hastings proved to be quite the conversationalist. We anticipated having to hunt him down and wrestle him to the ground just to introduce ourselves. Not so. Despite a couple contentious emails he sent us back in June regarding a report on a Twitter fight, Hastings was a pleasure. “Sorry I was kind of a dick in those emails,” he told us. “But I knew you would publish them.”

9. Politico White House reporter Byron Tau and Zeke Miller got into a spontaneous argument for the sake of taking a more natural picture. (See at left.) We had no idea Tau could be so violent or that Miller would take it so well.

8. At 8:30 p.m. we ran into Roll Call HOH Columnists Neda Semnani and Warren Rojas. Warren on keeping his jobs amid the wealth of recent layoffs at CQ Roll Call: “They can’t get rid of us. We know where all the bodies are.” He called the layoffs a “slaughter” and added, “Tomorrow, we still have a job.” Shortly thereafter, Washington Examiner gossip gal Nikki Schwab offers an uncharacteristic warmish hello. And for that, we put away the ice thermometer. At least for today. Hey Nikki!

LOL! Meeting Ben Smith

7. Asked about working at Buzzfeed, Chris Geidner takes a moment to gush. “I love it. It’s totally fun and everyday there’s …. just then Smith walks up and tells us he has a kind speech prepared for when people tell him they hate me. Thanks Ben! LOL! Back to Geidner, who is describing what it’s like to work at Buzzfeed: “It’s being at a place where everyday there is something new and amazing happening. Everyone is so good at their job. Go look at the page,” he’s saying about a recent graphic that accompanied his story. “It is so fucking awesome.” BuzzFeed doesn’t have an actual office in D.C. yet and Geidner wasn’t about to tell us about plans to open one. “I’m definitely not telling you that,” he said. “It’s still TBD.” (Later on, Smith would tell us they’re searching for office space, but it won’t be a conspicuous one. When asked if it’d be located in Anacostia, where reporters might need a bulletproof vest, he said it wouldn’t matter: “No one’s going to mess with Stanton.”

6. Speaking of someone not to mess with, it’s BuzzFeed publicist Ashley McCollum’s turn to come up with a bad thing about Ben. “I think Ben is as much an incredible editor as he is a great boss. Everyone’s ideas count. Anything bad about Ben Smith, you call me when you find it.”