BuzzFeed to hire three editorial staff down under

Scott LambUS-based viral content site BuzzFeed is preparing to launch an Australian office later this year with senior editorial staff to visit Australia ahead of the launch, Encore can reveal.

The move, by the self professed “technology platform for viral content”, follows the recent Australian launch of both US political fact checking website Politifact Australia and this week’s launch of digital Australian edition The Guardian.

In an exclusive interview with Encore, Scott Lamb, editorial director of BuzzFeed, said the team would initially consist of up to three editorial staff focused on catering to an Australian audience. 

“We think BuzzFeed’s sensibility matches Australian culture really well, and from our earliest days we’ve had a sizable Australian readership,” said Lamb. “A number of our earliest community members were Australian and it’s also one of our largest readerships outside the United States.”

BuzzFeed won’t comment on percieved local competitors although the local arm of the site is likely to be seen as a potential threat to populist news sites such as and Ninemsn.

Lamb said he felt Australian sites weren’t doing enough to make their content social and sharable. “I feel like there’s more of an opportunity for us to be doing something new than competing with existing organizations,” he said. “We want to make social content about Australia, which isn’t something we’re seeing a lot of at the moment.”

Lamb also commented on the recent Australian launches of The Guardian and Politifact but feels they will be competing in different sections of the market.

“From what we’ve seen, they’re focused on very specific and different goals,” he said. “PolitiFact is bringing their fact-checking mission to Australia; the Guardian wants to expand their reporting and news coverage here. I think those are both smart ideas and make sense on their own merits. Our goal is somewhat different. We want to provide social, shareable, BuzzFeed-style content that caters to an Australian audience.”

Lamb will be in Australia in August and will speak at the Walkley Foundation’s Storyology conference in Sydney.

BuzzFeed began advertising for a local editor a week ago.

The BuzzFeed editorial director said he wanted to talk to the Australian audience about online engagement and the importance of sharing in digital publishing. “As the world of journalism has shifted towards the digital, as audiences have become not only the intended receivers but also the publishers of digital content, it’s become increasingly critical to think about how and why a reader shares the things they read,” said Lamb. “We’ve spent the last seven years studying how and why people share things online, about what the key characteristics of viral content are, and I plan to share some of those things during my visit.”

Prior to joining the online platform Lamb worked at the English language arm of Der Spiegel and He joined Buzzfeed in 2007 as managing editor and was last year appointed the company’s editorial director.

Nic Christensen

Encore Issue 16This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit for a preview of the app or click below to download.


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