BuzzFeed fires senior reporter Ryan Broderick over alleged plagiarism

Former BuzzFeed News senior reporter Ryan Broderick in an undated social media photo. (Image: Facebook/Graphic: The Desk)

A senior reporter for the pop culture news website BuzzFeed has been fired after an internal review of his work turned up numerous instances of alleged plagiarism and unattributed sourcing.

Ryan Broderick was fired this week after editors discovered stolen and unattributed information in at least 11 of his stories.

The dismissal was confirmed by two staff members at BuzzFeed who agreed to speak with The Desk on background. Broderick’s firing was first reported Friday by the entertainment website The Wrap.

In a note to readers late Friday evening, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Mark Schoofs wrote that the suspect articles did not meet the news website’s standards and ethics guidelines.

Schoofs said the 11 articles were “updated to more clearly attribute phrases and sentence construction to material previously published by other news organizations.”  Those organizations include the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Huffington Post and the Associated Press.

“In our commitment to transparency, we have also added an editor’s note to the top of each story indicating the original source,” Schoofs wrote. He did not name Broderick in his letter to readers, but each of the 11 stories bore the former reporter’s byline.

Prior to his dismissal, Broderick was placed on administrative leave while editors conducted a thorough review of his numerous articles for BuzzFeed. He was hired by the company in early 2012 to serve as a community moderator who was tasked with building an audience across BuzzFeed’s various social platforms. (Disclosure: The author of this article knew Broderick personally while working in New York City from 2012 to 2013.)

In 2013, Broderick was promoted to a reporting position within BuzzFeed’s news division. Two years later, he was named the company’s deputy global news director and was assigned to help manage BuzzFeed’s London news bureau.

That assignment ended last year as BuzzFeed’s international operations struggled to generate revenue for the brand. Broderick was reassigned to the United States where he took on a new role as the website’s senior reporter.

He was suspended from the position in late May following a complaint filed by an editor at a competing news outlet, a BuzzFeed employee familiar with the matter said. After a cursory review of the story, Broderick was placed on administrative leave.

Broderick’s last story for the news website was published  on May 28. It was not among the 11 stories included in the list of suspected plagiarisms.