If you’ve been paying attention recently then you likely know how Buzzfeed has been making a number of waves recently. They’ve added a number of staffers on the editorial side and otherwise significantly expanded their operations. Yes, a lot of their stuff is still along the “7 Hilarious Sandwiches That Look Like Justin Bieber” lines but they’ve been making news for acting less like a place for funny gifs and more for action like a serious news outlet.
On that latter point we have Buzzfeed’s desire to reinvent the idea of the wire service:
The old model, where wire stories run 2-8 paragraphs with varying degrees of fresh reporting, doesn’t work when people are exposed to so much information on a continued basis, (Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith) said. “There’s no audience for ‘Here’s this thing you just heard and I’m going to say again,’” he said.
The move gets to the heart, as the Neiman Lab story says, of how people are approaching news these days. They’re looking for stories that are chunked up, either as lists or in easily skimmable categories, and which are immediately engaging and relevant. These are people who, rightly or wrongly, feel they get what they need to out of a story from whatever the synopsis that’s pulled into Facebook shows.
So while this experiment by Buzzfeed may or may not succeed – I’m unclear what the audience they have in mind for these revamped wire stories – it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. That site has a knack for knowing what the audience wants and even if this doesn’t work out, it’s highly probably that bits and pieces of what’s tried will work its way into future efforts by Buzzfeed or by another smart news organization that’s paying attention.