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Op-Ed: Buzzfeed testing new technology: the newspaper

The BuzzFeed publicity stunt

BuzzFeed has gone backwards to the technology of a bygone era the newspaper. It handed out 20,000 newspapers as part of a publicity stunt on Wednesday. BuzzFeed joked that it was testing a new technology. The ambassador for the BuzzFeed brand Ayanna Whitmore gave out copies of the newspaper at a subway station in New York. BuzzFeed headquarters are in the city.

The newspaper consisted of 12 pages. There were cheeky treatments in the special edition including its cover story “How Momo Went From VIral Hoax to Viral Hottie.” The Momo Challenge was a hoax and urban myth described in part by Wikipedia as follows: “The “Momo Challenge” is a hoax and urban legend about a nonexistent social media challenge that was spread on Facebook and other media outlets. It was reported that children and adolescents were being enticed by a user named Momo to perform a series of dangerous tasks including violent attacks, self-harm and suicide.”

Other articles in the newspaper dealt with entertainment, food, and the supposed millennial burnout. There was even one tidbit on politics that advised people not to hire Democratic Senator Cory Booker a 2020 presidential candidate and teetotaler as a bartender for their next party. The back page was devoted solely to ads.

BuzzFeed

Wikipedia describes BuzzFeed: “BuzzFeed, Inc. is an American Internet media, news and entertainment company with a focus on digital media; it is based in New York City. BuzzFeed was founded in 2006 by Jonah Peretti and John S. Johnson III, to focus on tracking viral content. Kenneth Lerer, co-founder and chairman of The Huffington Post, started as a co-founder and investor in BuzzFeed and is now the executive chairman, as well. Originally known for online quizzes, “listicles”, and pop culture articles, the company has grown into a global media and technology company, providing coverage on a variety of topics including politics, DIY, animals, and business. In late 2011, BuzzFeed hired Ben Smith of Politico as editor-in-chief, to expand the site into serious journalism, long-form journalism, and reportage. After years of investment in investigative journalism, BuzzFeed News had by 2018 won the National Magazine Award. and the George Polk Award and been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Michael Kelly Award.”

As the appended video shows BuzzFeed has been criticized for some of its serious news coverage. BuzzFeed is translated into many languages.

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