For my final project, I decided to write my commentary on how President Donald Trump denounces the media. My project, published on Shorthand Social and embedded below, looks at the different ways Trump has attacked the media, social media trends and fake news, and how all of that has lead to an all-time-low in American’s trust in journalists and the media. What does this mean for journalists? Take a look for yourself:
After tracking Buzzfeed News for the course of the semester, I think I have gained a greater understanding for the site’s mission, style and audience. In true Buzzfeed style, I have created a listicle of my observations and greatest takeaways from the course of the semester.
1. Buzzfeed knows how to write for its audience
As a news outlet targeted at millennials, Buzzfeed caters to its audience exceptionally well. The stories that appear on the site’s homepage and social media are of interest to this audience, and often have a direct effect on them. The length of stories is also the perfect length to keep the reader engaged, and the language is informal enough to make sure the audience doesn’t glaze over any information due to complex word choice.
2. Buzzfeed takes complicated issues and makes them understandable
Similarly, Buzzfeed does a great job taking important and/or complex issues and breaking them down. To do so, often Buzzfeed will publish a listicle about a major event to break it down or will make a post that read something along the lines of “Everything You Need To Know About…” with complicated concepts or events broken down into sub-sections of the article.
3. Buzzfeed can take a story and cover it from multiple angles to appeal to all different kinds of readers and learners
I noticed this when I observed Buzzfeed’s coverage of the Super Bowl. Not only did the site have a recap of the game, it also had a listicle of highlights, pieces strictly about Lady Gaga’s half time performance and a listicle of the most important photos from the night. This is just one example of all the ways Buzzfeed covers the same stories multiple ways.
4. Buzzfeed knows how to connect with its audience on social media
Buzzfeed utilizes all the social media millennials use when promoting a story. Buzzfeed News has a Twitter, Instagram and Facebook page. And this is in addition to the general Buzzfeed Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat account and Snapchat Discover Story, which also promotes Buzzfeed News stories. Therefore, through all these accounts a millennial is bound to encounter a Buzzfeed News story while scrolling through various social media accounts.
5. Buzzfeed gets a bad rep, but has an incredible staff of reporters
Buzzfeed knows a large portion of its audiences frequents the site to take quizzes and read listicles about the struggles of being a millennial. But in December, Buzzfeed News hired Anthony Cormier to its Investigative Unit and Nancy Youssef to its World team — a Pulitzer winner and a top Pentagon correspondent, respectively. They are not the only notable reporters, all Buzzfeed News’ reporters are well-established and some of the top journalists in the field, creating engaging, well-reported and accurate content.
6. Buzzfeed does a great job with breaking news alerts
Buzzfeed is always at the forefront of breaking news. Through its use of the Buzzfeed News app, the news outlet is able to send readers brief and informative news updates as they happen. Buzzfeed News also has an active Twitter presnse, and tweets out news in a timely manner. From my observations, however, they never retract tweets and always wait to release breaking until it is confirmed.
It was actually kind of difficult to find concrete examples of BuzzFeed News’ breaking news stories, which I found shocking since BuzzFeed News is a leader in news, especially for younger audiences. As I write this, breaking news occurred so I will highlight BuzzFeed’s current handling of Senate Democrats filibusteringSupreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
First, I would like to point out that BuzzFeed News tends to stray away from label their stories as “breaking.” On Twitter, however, they will lead their tweet with “BREAKING.”
Interestingly, on Facebook and on the BuzzFeed News website stories are not labeled “breaking.” Instead, they are just shared. But regarding Facebook, BuzzFeed News likes to utilize the Facebook Live feature. In this particular instance the the outlet knew something monumental would most likely happen, which isn’t necessarily breaking, but the outlet is still covering it like a breaking news story. It is streaming live from the U.S. Capitol via C-Span on Facebook, and updating viewers by commenting on its own video with important comments.
Further, and perhaps most importantly, there is a BuzzFeed News app for accessible news reading real-time push notifications for breaking news; I think an app with push notifications is a great way to ensure readers and users and receiving news since everyone checks the notification on their phones. Unfortunately as this story unfolded, I missed the push notification that comes up on the lock screen. But, if a user opens the app there is a “quickly catch up” section that featured the breaking news story, as well as an “alerts” tab that has an “alert stream” that shows all the notifications the app pushed out. (Pictured below)
Overall, I am very happy with the BuzzFeed News app, but disappointed in the handling of breaking news among other platforms.
BuzzFeed is always on top of popular trends when it comes to storytelling. It explores new ways to tell its stories through various mediums. BuzzFeed News has experimented with many forms of alternative storytelling and has crafted its storytelling in a way that works to its advantage to reach its large, mostly millennial demographic.
BuzzFeed News often utilizes listicles to tell its stories — “BuzzFeed” and “listicles” often go hand-in-hand — but BuzzFeed News has done so much more. The form of alternative storytelling that I appreciate the most is the use of Instagram stories to tell the news and promote BuzzFeed’s content.
On Instagram, everyday BuzzFeed News takes at least one story and tells it through the lens of an Instagram story. For example:
And then the story goes on to tell the top five items — phone, ring, keys, wallet and glasses — and continues:
On the third example, Instagram users were given the option to swipe up at the bottom of the page to read more…
That then linked the user to a full BuzzFeed News story in a new window. (Which is a typical, on-brand BuzzFeed listicle.)
For this video assignment, I chose to spotlight The Daily Free Press and the Managing Editor, Candice Lim. Below, Lim explains her duties as Managing Editor and discusses her passion for the FreeP and the people that make it possible.
To shoot this video, I used my iPhone 6S, and to edit I used iMovie. While filming, I did not encounter any challenges except the lighting of the FreeP office was not very flattering, so I had to make sure my camera angles did not hit the light the wrong way.
This year, I went back to Medford, New Jersey for spring break. I was definitely at the point in the semester where I just wanted to be at home and with my family, so it came at the perfect time for me. Unfortunately, none of my friends from home had spring breaks that lined up with mine, so I was rather uneventful.
One of my and my mom’s favorite things to do together is going to New York City for the day, explore and then see a show. I recapped my day on Wednesday, March 8 on Instagram for my followers to see what my mom and I were up to in the city. Enjoy!
The month of February brought Boston it’s first snow storm of the year as well as record-breaking weather highs; February 23 – 26 featured temperatures in the 60s.
Travel down Commonwealth Avenue to see how Boston University students embraced the abnormal weather while heading to and from class.
Photos by Christy Osler