A good friend of mine recently wrote a lovely blog post about Buzzfeed and how it’s winning at the internet. While I agree with her that Buzzfeed is doing things right, I can’t resist from standing up for traditional news outlets as well.
I’m making myself into a news junkie, scrolling through my twitter feed to read articles from AP and The Daily Beast and asking for a digital subscription to The New York Times (also known as, my dream job in a few years) so I can stay up-to-date on the latest around the world.
Because of this, I’ve been able to witness some of the things traditional news outlets are doing right. The New York Times is using social media to actively advertise their content, and they’re not just shouting into an empty room: they have over 11 million Twitter followers. If that doesn’t seem like much to you, compare it to the 840,000 followers Buzzfeed has.
The Associated Press is also in on the social media game, with over 3 million Twitter followers.
In addition to their social media presence, these news outlets are doing things to try and attract readers. Every day, the New York Times posts the Times Minute, a one-minute video featuring three stories they want to feature for the day. You can find yesterday’s video here.
The Associated Press does something called #AP10Things every day, where they list in brief the top ten news stories they expect to see discussed in detail the next day. This is perfect for those of us who want to stay up-to-date on the news, but haven’t the time to read tons of long articles every day; it’s a slightly more in-depth look than a headline, but still short enough to let us read it and move on.
And while Buzzfeed is known for its personality quizzes (which “Divergent” faction do you belong in?” is the latest big hit) and hilarious lists, complete with gifs and sassy commentary, they are not the only people making use of entertainment to attract readers.
According to a recent article by The Atlantic, the New York Times’ most viewed article of 2013 was actually a quiz that tried to guess what region of America you were from by your dialect. Another recent big hit was their Snow Fall, the interactive article about an avalanche at Tunnel Creek.
So if traditional news outlets are doing their best to reach out and adapt to the world, here’s my question: is it really their fault if we don’t read the news, or is it ours? If we spend all of our time on Buzzfeed and none of it scrolling through local and international news, who do we have to blame? I don’t believe it’s really fair to say that news outlets need to change the way they report news. Maybe it’s just because I’m an aspiring journalist, but I believe we have a duty to stay informed about what’s going on in the world. So don’t blame the Associated Press because you think their headline is boring; click that link and inform yourself about the world you live in.