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Buzzfeed: The media company for the digital age

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BuzzFeed is introducing a new form of journalism to the world through the website's interactive quizzes, specialty videos and pop culture articles. Photo by Jay L. Clendenen/MCT Campus.

BuzzFeed is introducing a new form of journalism to the world through the website’s interactive quizzes, specialty videos and pop culture articles. Photo by Jay L. Clendenen/MCT Campus.

BuzzFeed classifies itself as a news website, however, with its pop-culture topics, celebrity gossip and random features, can it really be classified as a journalistic website? Sure, its funny and intriguing article titles such as, “24 Reasons Ann Perkins Needs To Return For The Final Season of ‘Parks And Recreation’” and “If College Freshmen Were Honest On Move-In Day,” may not sound like “real news,” but a closer examination reveals that BuzzFeed may actually be onto something.

Indeed, their witty one-liners, picture quizzes and “WTF” section may not mirror the mode of journalism that has set the precedent for what has qualified as news for decades. However, according to its website, Buzzfeed is not looking to adhere to this standard — it wants to start something new: “A new kind of media company for the social world.”

BuzzFeed is one of those websites that has mastered the art of site traffic. Its constantly updated entertainment section and crazy quiz titles appeal to the large audience of people who are browsing the Internet on their smartphones or computers. This large audience devotes merely a few seconds of attention to each link that pops up on their screen. Unlike readers of the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, many of whom are avid newsreaders that actually take time out of their days specifically to check out journalistic websites, BuzzFeed users are often in the midst of something totally different (i.e. perusing Facebook or Twitter), when they are drawn to the quirky news titles.

According to alexa.com, an online commercial web traffic database, nearly 30 percent of BuzzFeed’s site traffic comes from Facebook alone. And BuzzFeed knows this, which could explain why instead of catering to an audience who craves hard-hitting, impactful news, it has instead chosen the road less traveled: pop culture.

BuzzFeed knows it will never be the next New York Times, however, that’s not what makes it successful. One of the most critical aspects of effective journalism is knowing your audience and having the ability to feed them what they’re looking for in a timely manner. This is what sets them apart. BuzzFeed’s slogan, “The Media Company for the Digital Age,” reflects what they are really trying to be: A progressive and modern media outlet targeted towards the current generation and its compulsion toward instant gratification and mass consumption online.

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Buzzfeed: The media company for the digital age