Buzzfeed UK is to add a news editor to its growing team of editorial staff, with deputy online editor for Metro.co.uk Richard James due to join next month, according to the social news outlet.
The appointment of James will bring Buzzfeed UK's editorial team up to 16, more than a five-fold increase on the starting line-up of three at launch last year.
According to a press release, "James will be responsible for writing and commissioning daily news stories including scoops and trending pieces, and expanding the news coverage in the UK".
"I am thrilled to be joining BuzzFeed at such an exciting time in the company’s history," James said in the release. "The UK launch has been a phenomenal success and I’m looking forward to helping continue its incredible growth.
"Already the home of social content, BuzzFeed is starting to redefine the way news is covered and shared. There is huge potential to develop and grow BuzzFeed’s news output and I can’t wait to get stuck in".
Editor of BuzzFeed UK Luke Lewis told Journalism.co.uk that the site aims to take on around 10 additional members of staff over the course of 2014, with the aim of having a total editorial team of around 30 by close of the year.
He added that this will include "news reporters, celeb reporters, political reporters", but largely "generalists... who can really turn their hand to a number of different content areas".
The appointment of a UK news editor, in addition to the introduction of news reporter Alan White in November last year, is a "sign we want to get more serious about news", Lewis said.
But he stressed that while they are "embracing more serious content", it was also "important for us not to lose sight of the entertaining stuff" which he said has drawn in much of its readers to date.
Therefore the site also wants to take on "staff writers that can be funny", and will still be dedicated to "being entertaining" with its usual mixture of shareable lists and witty observations.
From an estimated editorial team of 30 at the end of 2014, Lewis predicted that the news team would make up "no more than four or five" of those roles.
The latest web traffic figures showed "record" results for January, he added, reporting UK traffic of 16 million users. This is "10 per cent of the global total", he added, which was reportedly at "more than 130 million" in November last year.
"So the traffic really is growing rapidly," he said, adding that "a lot of that is driven by news".
- Jack Shepherd, editorial director of BuzzFeed will be delivering the keynote speech at Journalism.co.uk's news:rewired conference on Thursday 20 February. Buy digital tickets to access video of the sold-out conference after the event.
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