5,000 Reasons Something's Fishy At BuzzFeed

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BuzzFeed has gotten a lot of buzz this week, from its $50 million investment to its sky high $850 million valuation that makes it worth many times more than legacy media like The Washington Post.

But a Gawker observation has BuzzFeed back in the news for a less positive reason. Nearly 5,000 posts have disappeared from the site, Gawker reports. BuzzFeed didn't respond to Gawker's questions about the erased posts.

BuzzFeed editor Benny Johnson was fired in July after egregious plagiarism came to light. Despite evidence that Johnson had done things like copy phrasing directly from other websites, BuzzFeed's editor-in-chief Ben Smith first defended him as "one of the Web's deeply original writers."

Johnson was later fired when it became apparent his plagiarism problem extended far and wide throughout his posts. Do others on the BuzzFeed staff have the same problem with attribution and using legitimate sources?

Gawker uncovered several examples that suggest as much

BuzzFeed is trying to establish itself less as a place to find meaningless cat photos and click-bait GIFs and more as a legitimate journalism site with offshoots for digital video and other ventures. There are dozens of editorial job openings posted to its site, and the company vows to be "intensely focused on delivering high-quality original reporting, insight and viral content."

We'll see. It's hard to accomplish that when your staff doesn't follow the basic rules of attribution.

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