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Buzzfeed News peddles to readers in ‘quiet’ donations push to ‘support reporting’


By Bennett Bennett, Staff writer

August 27, 2018 | 3 min read

Buzzfeed News, considered an independent arm of its parent company Buzzfeed, has now given an option for readers to donate money to the site and its journalism.

BuzzFeed News

Buzzfeed News looks to collect donations in possible push for member-driven subscriptions

This move has allowed readers to donate from $5 to $100, and also has given them the opportunity to receive top stories as they break. This plays similarly to some to how Wikipedia or The Guardian’s ask for donations, except that Guardian’s run by a trust and Wikipedia’s a non-profit.

Buzzfeed, on the other hand, has been an ad-supported media platform since inception. One that has been toying with giving each of its properties multiple streams of revenue. Jonah Peretti had announced back in February his plan for the company to focus on bringing in dollars through advertising, commerce, and through its studios.

Bringing in revenue via donations wasn’t among the options listed. The Drum has reported previously that the recent visual rebrand of Buzzfeed News could be a sign of a sale, where as the donation system can be a method to adding a membership feature similar to that of Medium’s member-only publications and of startups The Information and The Athletic, which are strictly subscription-based viewership.

In a comment to the Wall Street Journal, a Buzzfeed representative said: “Following some of our peers in the industry, we see this as one more way to support our reporting and keep BuzzFeed News free for everyone.”

This hasn’t been the only time Buzzfeed News, which has won a Murrow award for its journalism this year, has looked to play by the same revenue rules as its contemporaries in the news space. In February, the publisher has sought philantrophic support from the Emmerson Collective to invest in the site.

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