A friend of mine said last year that he was sick of the popular social, viral website Buzzfeed. I had just discovered the buzz worthy site at the time and did not agree with him.
I was entertained by its lists and looked forward to what ridiculous compilation it would feature next on the site. I did not think Buzzfeed was that bad — until I found out that Buzzfeed considers itself a news outlet.
That is when I saw what my friend was talking about. Buzzfeed by the loosest sense of the word is a news gathering agency. It has a branch of the website devoted to news, and I believe that its efforts in the news section could only be called aggregation if you were being incredibly generous.
It might be because of my three years at Marquette learning to be a journalist, but I just cannot consider Buzzfeed a serious journalistic voice when every other post is about cats.
Buzzfeed takes the news and presents it in some sort of ridiculous GIF-filled post featuring clips from popular movies and pop culture. Then it takes ideas going viral on other sites, re-brand them and presents them in an attempt to gain more hits on the site.
Even though I disagree with its journalistic labeling, Buzzfeed is doing one thing right — it is separating itself from the boring, cookie-cutter online newspaper.
Ever since newspapers started the digital transition, there have been problems. It does not really seem as though anyone knows how to effectively transition the newspaper to the Internet, and until we figure it out, the media is just going to be a series of experiments.
Buzzfeed can generate buzz. The site has viral capabilities and its posts stand out, but Buzzfeed just is not what I imagined the future of American news media would be when I started showing an interest in journalism nine years ago.
I knew from my second day at Marquette, when I had my first class with Stephen Byers, and he told us that we live in interesting times, that the future of journalism could be anything imaginable.
When I was little, I practically worshiped newspapers and held them to the highest regard. I loved seeing names in print so much that when my byline was published for the first time in the Franklin Park Gazette (for my first ever book review in fourth grade), I bought three copies and would not let anyone touch them.
I always imagined my future would be something like that. Seeing my name everyday in print and having my words go out to thousands of readers daily. Today, I have a different view brought on by Buzzfeed and the failing print medium.
It may not be the future I imagined when I was growing up, but it is the future that I am learning to embrace, and at the end of the day, I still think my byline will be everywhere.