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Making an Impact at BuzzFeed

Oct 1, 2015

By Leslie Lalonde, '15 Flagler College alumnus Kirk Damato, ‘01, became creative manager of popular viral-content machine BuzzFeed in September 2013, and admits the job was 11 years in the making.

Upon graduating in 2001, Damato fled to New York to anxiously begin his quest for an impactful career. He took writing job after writing job, getting as much experience as possible under his belt. The years of various copywriting here and there paid off, and in January of 2014, he flew from the east coast to the west, landing at BuzzFeed’s headquarters in Los Angeles, Calif.

“Look, someone’s gotta make the Internet,” he says. “There’s something noble in helping people when they’re bored at work.” The official name “Creative Manager” at BuzzFeed means he has a lot of control over what the site publishes. “I manage a team of creatives and work with a team of writers — editing and approving their posts,” he adds. “I run the daily brainstorms we have and make sure everything is running smoothly.”

To anyone unfamiliar with BuzzFeed, it wears multiple hats. Targeting a younger audience, ages 18 to 24, the site keeps a mix of serious journalism and current events, as well as the information Damato curates and publishes — the funny stuff. The brainstorming process to create the funniest of posts consists of pitching various headlines to the company’s partners, and upon approval, the creative team collects information and photos and begins the publishing process.

Damato admits his average day can be a lot of fun, and pretty interesting. “It’s much more relaxed here rather than New York because there are fewer creatives in LA,” he says. Even between writing funny articles and captions, Damato squeezes in just enough time for some real fun. “Everyone I work with I basically consider my friends, and playing the game ‘Risk’ is something we really enjoy,” he says.

“Managing others has to be the most important skillset learned at Flagler,” he says. “When I worked at the Gargoyle newspaper as entertainment editor, I had to deal with assigning writers and working with editors.” His college experience gave him his first taste of curating content that makes people laugh or smile. “People like cute pictures — it makes their day a little bit better,” he says. “After all, GIFs are the Internet’s gift to us all.”

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