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Posts Tagged ‘Buzzfeed’

BuzzFeed Shows AP Stylebook Isn’t Exhaustive, Especially for Digital Age

keep-calm-and-follow-buzzguide-1No one can argue this — the Internet has changed everything when it comes to journalism, and while the AP Stylebook will continue to be considered “ol’ faithful” in our industry on most issues of journalistic style, there must be a benchmark for the Web-speak so prevalent in social and digital media today.

That is why BuzzFeed, generator of hilarious lists and investigative stories alike, has made public its newsroom style guide.

While BuzzFeed said its style manual isn’t meant to cover all elements of grammar and journalistic style (they rely mostly on the AP Stylebook, except for their own overrides on words they use often on the site — we’ll get to those later), the digital publisher hopes the guide will be a good source for its media peers.

“Our perspective reflects that of the internet at large, which is why we hope other sites and organizations across the web will find these guidelines useful,” wrote BuzzFeed copy team staffers Emmy Favila and Megan Paolone for the official release of the guide last week.

Of note when it comes to words and phrases journalists (specifically those covering technology and media beats) might be prone to using? See after the jump.

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Fewer Cat Memes, More Hard-Hitting Stuff: BuzzFeed Gets Real With Investigative Editor

buzzfeed_lrgOnce again, BuzzFeed is showing us it’s serious about being a respected news organization despite the fluff pieces it’s so infamous for. That’s why the viral/social Web machine announced to the universe Monday that it’s adding a Pulitzer winner to its newsroom as well as an investigative journalism team.

The New York Times’ Leslie Kaufman broke the news that Mark Schoofs, previously of the hard-hitting nonprofit journalism venture ProPublica, would be heading up a brand new team of “about a half dozen reporters” for his BuzzFeed beat, which will boast stories alongside titles such as “10 Times Obama Said Signing Up For Obamacare Sucks Today” and “The 17 Worst Things About Being A Girl.”

Schoofs’ hire is one more indication that the organization is aggressively trying to shape its image so that they’re not written off as a source of blather predominantly shared among teens and young adults, and nonsensical lists, at least not entirely (for the record, I enjoy the blather and lists in small doses).

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Why Listicles Are Here to Stay

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Listicles, or articles in list form, have been around for decades. Traditional magazines like Cosmopolitan have had them on their cover for years (aka: “10 Sexiest Things To Do With Your Man Tonight!”)

But the resurgence of the listicle online really found its home on BuzzFeed. The news aggregator and youth-centric site is the most famous example of the listicle done right. Peruse the site and you will find thousands of lists on any subject you can think of. Most are humorous, some are enraging, others, uplifting. Take ”21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity,” an inspiring collection of photographs that has been viewed over 14 million times. They know what they’re doing, and they do it well.  Although BuzzFeed was once known as the silly home of cat memes, it now also focuses on international news and politics. A U.S. Senator recently caused quite a stir by creating his own listicle: ”11 Reasons Why Congress Needs to Fix Student Loan Rates Now,” mixing D.C. policy decisions with images and GIFs.

BuzzFeed’s editorial director Jack Shepherd recently told 10,000 Words via email about what makes listicles so attractive to his millions of readers. But first, he had a few things to say about the word itself. Read more

Let’s All Try To Not Be ‘Buzzfeedy’

buzzfeed logoMark Duffy, better known as Copyranter, tweeted today that we was fired from Buzzfeed for not being “buzzfeedy” enough. Fellow journos and media hounds commiserated with him, noting that not being ‘buzzfeedy’ can be a good thing.

It’s hard not to respect the success of Buzzfeed, and I had always counted Copyranter’s posts among the best parts of the site, right along with Ben Smith’s news vertical. But what does being ‘buzzfeedy’ even mean? Not having enough pictures? Including only twenty gifs when the standard is 34? Do you have to hit certain targets in terms of being shared? That’s a lot of pressure. duffybuzzfeedy

We’ve all probably had to think about how to make our headlines and posts be more buzzfeedy, as in, making it worth sharing, constructed to go viral. Even respectable outlets, like the Center for Investigative Journalism,  is in on the game with posts such as “The Ten Most Unintentionally Hilarious Propoganda Videos.”

In solidarity, let’s all take a minute this weekend and see if we can figure out a way to garner an audience and engage users across the web without numbers, lists, or snark. Challenge accepted?

Ready to Share: Packaging Your Digital Content

Chris Johanesen of Buzzfeed says that publishers should ban slideshows. Can we get a round of applause? They are remanants, like pageviews and the ‘like‘ button, of the beginnings of everything digital. Nothing fills me with a sense of dread more than clicking on a link and realizing there are ten, 30 page slideshows at the bottom of the story. It’s why it’s hard to read certain sites.

And of course, slideshows and the pageview complex go hand in hand. Johansen writes that you can’t trick people into sharing content, which is how Buzzfeed considers engagement. Which is sort of interesting in that, while also ploys to get readers to click through and add to the tally, slideshows are also perfect packages of content to share. Like silly lists.

Sometimes, content is made for slideshows. A collection of really great photos, be it of a newsworthy event or a fashion spread, that enhance a story is one. But who has a staff photographer anymore?

Other kinds of niche content will still exist in slideshow form as long as we’re clicking though on desktops, too. I’ve recently made grilling a bit of a hobby and when I’m browsing for ideas, I click through Food and Wine collections, in the same way my grandmother used to peruse her tattered recipe box.  Maybe they’re tricking me into monetizing their site for them, but there’s something inherently ‘browse-worthy’ about food and restauarant pages, much like travel.

As our content all ends up mobile, we’re going to have to be more innovative about packaging it. Even good tablet versions of good magazine just replicate the print version of the magazine, like Wired or the Atlantic, with some extra features and links. Meanwhile, content like this spread here, should just be one colorful, interactive page on the web, sort of like it used to be in the magazine.

Slideshows, and lists, will only die when mobile content really subsumes your desktop view. Do you think slideshows are ever anything but a way to garner pageviews? Are you encouraged to create them?

Photo c/o The Huffington Post

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