There’s no question that the albatross hanging around BuzzFeed‘s neck is this notion that they want to be taken seriously and that they want to distinguish all that cat loving, LOL crap from their news division.
In a publicity move that’s swiftly becoming apparent, the more serious part of BuzzFeed is now calling itself BuzzFeed News. Political Editor Katherine Miller self-describes as “Political Editor at BuzzFeed News.” Kate Nocera is a “BuzzFeed news reporter on Capitol Hill.” Evan McMorris-Santoro is “BuzzFeed News White House Correspondent.” Washington Bureau Chief John Stanton still hasn’t gotten around to changing his title. He’s “DC Bureau Chief of Buzzfeed.com reporter, former bouncer and all around dc bama.” McKay Coppins obviously got the memo. He’s “senior political writer, BuzzFeed News.”
Andrew Kaczynski is quasi-catching. He’s a reporter for “BuzzFeed Politics” but “also likes cats.”
And in a panel discussion Friday at the Paley Center For Media’s International Council conference in New York, BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti remarked, “People are going to start taking us seriously, in a way that they haven’t a few years ago,” he said.
On Friday, the whole situation escalated to ridiculous heights when Talking Points Memo editor-in-chief Josh Marshall got in a tiff with BuzzFeed Chief of Staff Ashley McCollum over it. (I’m going to break it to you right now, Marshall: You will absolutely not be allowed in to BuzzFeed‘s alternative White House Correspondent’s Association Dinner party in April, 2015.)
Josh Marshall: “Good Lord, people. We just heard from a publicist for a highflying website that I’ll call ‘Very Serious News Website’ asking us to please 1” (2:46)
Josh Marshall: “For all of you trying to guess or asking who it is, please people. We take doofus anonymity very seriously.” (2:49)
Ashley McCollum: “@joshtpm i know it might be hard to understand the difference between BuzzFeed and BuzzFeed News so I’ll keep emailin until you do, k? :)” (3:02)
Ashley McCollum: “@joshtpm and please dont call me or anyone on my team a doofus again. Must credit BuzzFeed spokesperson.” (3:04)
Josh Marshall: “Yolo.” (3:11)
Josh Marshall: “@McCollumAshley This is part of the news business. You can’t dictate what other people call you. You seem to have a recurrent problem w/this.” (3:15)
Ashley McCollum: “@joshtpm it was a very polite request, not a demand. fwiw most people agreed or didn’t respond, not subtweeted.” (3:18)
Subtweeting is obviously a seriously loser thing to do (and I’m half-joking). As explained by Urban Dictionary, the subtweeter insults someone without using the @ sign as to avoid direct conflict with the person he’s jabbing.
As you can see above, McCollum nonetheless caught on.