There’s a new trend cresting in the digital journalism world, and its unique spin is the closest anyone has gotten to a truly new way to digest news. It’s called “viral news,” and it’s well on its way to changing the landscape of how websites will soon be producing new, shareable news stories.

It’s important to note that this isn’t the work of standard viral websites like Fark or Buzzfeed. Instead, there’s a new generation of thoughtful, news-focused startups that are finding new ways to share important news content without reducing it to a sugary mass of fluff. One of the biggest viral news websites today is Upworthy, which focuses on creating viral posts of serious content including political speeches, think tank concepts and research data. Since its start in March of 2012, Upworthy has earned millions in funding and gained the monniker of the fastest growing media company in the world.

Here are three ways Upworthy and similar website NowThisNews are on their way to changing news at large. What do you think of their efforts? Let us know in the comments.

1. Relevant Topics Are Perfectly Boiled Down

Instead of an in-depth report on Lance Armstrong’s controversial interview with Oprah, a video on NowThisNews’ front page boiled the whole interview down to a mere 160 seconds. It’s the perfect example of the goal of viral news organizations: to condense big news topics and other points of interest into digestible and shareable bits of information. Users can click on before their commute (or before their lunch break) and easily get through the day’s news in half an hour — and share all of it to their friends. Read more