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BuzzFeed chief accuses traditional media of ‘giving up on young people’


By John Glenday, Reporter

October 11, 2013 | 2 min read

BuzzFeed president Jon Steinberg has hit out at traditional media for ‘giving up on young people’, claiming that his website is ‘bringing more hard news on a relative basis than a lot of the traditional television networks'.

The news site attracted 85m unique visitors in August and now employs more than 100 full time writers, a growing proportion of whom focus on news and politics rather than memes and cats.

Overall around 40 per cent of traffic now comes from links shared on Facebook and 70 per cent from social sources in general.

Speaking at the MIPCOM conference in Cannes Steinberg said: “We feel strongly that traditional media have given up on young people, and have not made a commitment to tell stories that are interesting for people under 40 or 50 years old.

“We're bringing more hard news on a relative basis than a lot of the traditional television networks do now.”

Steinberg continued: “More so than the technology, you have to write and produce news for the social web: it has to be novel, important and have this social imperative behind it," he said, suggesting that some media have yet to move on from an SEO-focused approach optimised for Google's search engine rather than social sharing.

"That allowed people to write very boring news that was aggregated and unoriginal. And that doesn't work well on social," he said. "The most important thing you can do is to think to yourself 'why would somebody share this content?' And that's very high-quality content."


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