The gray lady climbs into bed with Buzzfeed: Can you say 'cultural difference'

As I write this, here are the top stories, in order, at Buzzfeed:

What’s The Last Wikipedia Page You Visited?
Two Different Kinds Of Baby Sloths Hug It Out
Solid Life Goal
14 Kids Getting Terrified By “Legends Of The Hidden Temple” Guards
How Do You Get Rid Of Hiccups?

And here are the top five at the august New York Times:

Pakistani Court Ousts Premier, Escalating Political Fight
Even the Employed Suffer as Hours and Wages Are Cut
Lingering Fears on Euro Push Spanish Borrowing Costs Up
American Children Struggle to Adjust to Life in Mexico
G.O.P. Reacts to Immigration Shift

Bit of a difference, eh? Now here’s the lede from an NYTCo press release:

The New York Times and BuzzFeed announced today that they will collaborate as part of expanded video coverage of the Democratic and Republican national conventions on NYTimes.com.

Say what? The lion lying down with the lamb? And which is the lion?

It’s now history, of course, that the news business — particularly dailies — fell more than a decade behind the Internet as a competitor because of arrogance and insipid leadership focused on short-term investor profits. It’s also history that news organizations — usually a television station and a newspaper in the same city — have formed “partnerships” in pursuing the same story and repurposing the story for their particular needs. And it’s not exactly news that mainstream media have partnered with Internet competitors.

But The New York effin’ Times? With Buzzfeed? Can you imagine two information cultures with a greater potential for disagreement over defining what’s news?

Egads. But don’t worry. The honchos of each are confident. Sayeth Jim Roberts, assistant managing editor of The Times:

We think BuzzFeed’s energy and keen ear for how political stories play out in the social sphere will be a valuable and interesting contribution to The Times’s video presence.

And from Ben Smith, editor in chief of BuzzFeed:

We are thrilled to work with such a respected news organization as The New York Times, and one that understands and values online reporting.

Well, folks, we’ll see as conventions unfold. But I’d love to be a fly on the wall in that shared newsroom when Buzzfeed and Times editors try to agree on what video actually makes it online. I’m predicting cultural conflict at minimum and fistfights at max.

I wonder if online readers will be well served … or their needs even considered in that newsroom war zone.

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