BuzzFeed Acknowledges Plagiarism, Not Attributing Some Quotes

June 27, 2020 Updated: June 27, 2020

BuzzFeed published articles that included plagiarized material and quotes that weren’t attributed correctly, its new editor-in-chief said.

The website, best known for soft content, has in recent years tried ramping up its news division.

An investigation found 11 articles that violate the outlet’s editorial standards, Editor-in-Chief Mark Schoofs said in a note to readers late Friday.

“It is BuzzFeed News’ policy that nothing may be copied, pasted, and passed off as one’s own work, and that all quotes should be attributed. We regret that in these instances those standards were not met,” he wrote.

Every article listed in violation was authored by Ryan Broderick, a senior reporter at the website.

The articles didn’t clearly state that they drew from other outlets, according to editor’s notes appended to them.

In one case, in an article about President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the note says: “This story has been updated to more clearly attribute phrasing from work previously published in the Associated Press.”

Broderick was reportedly fired.

Epoch Times Photo
Buzzfeed Editor In Chief Ben Smith speaks with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray during an event in New York City on July 25, 2019. (Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for BuzzFeed)

BuzzFeed and Broderick didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Broderick has been working at BuzzFeed for over eight years, according to his LinkedIn page. He started out as a community moderator before becoming a reporter. His job titles included deputy global news director, which he’s been for nearly five years. That role included helping BuzzFeed “build a global news team,” with travel between different offices every three months and managing a team in London, the page stated.

It’s not clear what prompted the internal investigation.

“BuzzFeed News apologizes for these lapses, both to you, the reader, and to the authors of the original work and their news outlets,” Schoofs wrote.

Another writer, Benny Johnson, was fired in 2014 after a review found 41 instances of sentences or phrases copied word for word from other sites, the editor-in-chief at the time, Ben Smith, said.

“Benny is a friend, colleague, and, at his best, a creative force, but we had no choice other than letting him go,” Smith said, promising to work on being more vigilant in the future.

When BuzzFeed started it didn’t hold writers to traditional journalistic standards, Smith acknowledged. That started changing “a long time ago,” he wrote.

Smith didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Schoofs became editor-in-chief in May after Smith left to join the New York Times.

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