BuzzFeed's UK editorial team continues to grow as the outlet hires the Guardian's acting women's editor Bim Adewunmi as its first UK culture editor.
Adewunmi will also be editing BuzzFeed Ideas pieces from British writers as the first-person essays section is set to expand.
"I look forward to writing features and essays about culture, popular and otherwise, race and gender... I already feel like I live on the internet so this is, in actuality, a mere formality," Adewunmi said in a press release emailed to Journalism.co.uk.
BuzzFeed Ideas was first introduced in April 2014, and Doree Shafrir, executive editor, took over the section in August with a sharper focus on personal essays and cultural criticism, aiming to give a platform to "under-represented voices in the mainstream media".
This could be "everyone from a 74 year-old grandmother writing about the abortion she had in 1959 who has never been published before – this was her first piece of writing – to a genderqueer 18 year-old writing about their rape, to people who have never been published in a mainstream publication before," she told Journalism.co.uk.I think it's a misconception that if something is 'serious' that it can't go viral, I think that's completely wrong.Doree Shafrir, BuzzFeed
Shafrir, who is also hiring a deputy editor in the US, said she plans to develop the Ideas section to include more "Zeitgeisty stories" in the style of New York Magazine, as well as stories anchored in science or data.
Ideas pieces, which tend to be between 1,000 and 3,000 words long, might not look like typical 'viral content', but Shafrir said the essays had been "sharing extremely well" and have also been prompting considerate discussion.
"I think it's a misconception that if something is 'serious' that it can't go viral, I think that's completely wrong," she said.
"I am definitely interested in publishing stories that people want to share and that people want to talk about as well. We see a lot of engagement on especially the first-person essays but also on the cultural criticism."
While online comments under stories can often be critical, those in the BuzzFeed Ideas section "tend to be of a more thoughtful calibre", said Shafrir, as people who relate to the pieces engage in conversations.
With Adewunmi's appointment, Shafrir hopes to also see more stories looking at cultural topics through "a British lense".
BuzzFeed Ideas has also published big names such as Lena Dunham who wrote for the section last year, and Shafrir plans to continue this trend.
But part of Ideas' mission remains to showcase "previously unpublished voices".
She said one of the challenges of working with first-time writers on personal essays is establishing the distinction between a topic and a story.
"They do have a very powerful story but you want them to be able to tell the best possible version of the story that they can," she said.
BuzzFeed UK editor Luke Lewis told Journalism.co.uk in December the outlet plans to build a "beat structure" in the newsroom.
This week, BuzzFeed also announced the appointment of Heidi Blake, assistant editor at the Sunday Times, as UK investigations editor.
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