BuzzFeed put out a one-time print edition on March 6. The paper was available at Union Square, Penn Station and Herald Square in New York City. “Get your BuzzFeed newspaper in NYC today for all the best of the internet without the internet!” read a BuzzFeed tweet on the paper, which was being done for fun, according to BuzzFeed. The stories in the paper were real, however, with the cover story on Momo fan art. The paper’s motto was “Social. Mobile. Recyclable.”
BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith was among those handing out copies in New York, according to Nieman Lab.
Some industry observers took note of the gimmick.
“This is a sharp play by BuzzFeed,” said Vicki Brakl, vice president of integrated marketing at Stamford, Connecticut-based MNI Targeted Media, a division of Meredith Corporation, in an emailed comment. “We know that contrary to reports out there, younger audiences do, in fact, read printed words on paper. But this is a shrewd strategy because of the staying power. Lots of different research reports on brain imaging whilst interacting with media has proven that recall is much higher on printed materials like magazines and newspapers than digital alone. The neuroscience proves that combining interaction of media with various senses — sight, touch, smell, et cetera — enhances engagement and recall. Bravo, Buzzfeed."
Critics on Twitter were unhappy with the promotional move in light of the January layoffs of 15 percent of BuzzFeed's workforce, amounting to more than 220 people. In February, employees at BuzzFeed’s news division announced plans to unionize