The Mirror

BuzzFeed’s ‘Journalists Of Color’ Fellowship Was Against The Law

Well, well, well.

Putting an $85K price tag on diversity isn’t so simple after all. Turns out BuzzFeed hadn’t dotted all their i’s before instituting a diversity fellowship program with Columbia University to bring investigative journalists of color into the publication’s fold. Turns out what they were doing doesn’t comply with New York’s anti-discrimination employment law. The Weekly Standard‘s John McCormack reported the news Friday.

“We had actually gotten confused on employment law — pure fellowships can be targeted this way; but this role includes benefits and a desk and is, legally speaking, a job not a fellowship,” BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD in an email. The title of the fellowship is now: ‘BuzzFeed News/Columbia Journalism School Investigative Reporting Fellowship for Journalists of Color And Other Diverse Backgrounds.'”

Even BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith isn’t sure what this all means yet or what “other diverse backgrounds” really means. But he clearly doesn’t like it.

He told The Weekly Standard he thinks this is an “idiotic interpretation” of the state’s employment discrimination laws.