Looking for news in all the wrong places

I find BuzzFeed to be grossly unoriginal.

It’s a dirty combination of the E! network and a random newspaper with a terrible web designer.

Many people like the “news” site because it’s easy to read its content. You stumble upon an article, usually on Facebook, titled “14 Costumes Only Kids Can Pull Off,” and you’re immediately intrigued. It’s a topical and eclectic list!

I’ll admit that I have been sucked into some of their lists. You can’t help it, really. But the “21 reasons” and the “13 best” lose their luster after a certain point.

BuzzFeed isn’t really news. It is celebrity gossip mixed with random facts: “Why your body reacts to a cold drink with brain freeze” or “Emilia Clarke Has The Hardest Working Eyebrows In Showbiz.” It provides no sustenance to those of us who hunger for news. At the end of a BuzzFeed article, a reader is left with little to no immediately applicable new knowledge.

It’s a literal waste of time, more so than staring at Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter. At least with social media, you’re keeping up with people you know.

The fact that BuzzFeed writes few compelling articles without using the cheap and overdone format of a list should be a dead giveaway that its uninspired goop is unworthy of readership.

The stories BuzzFeed touts as news articles are typically nothing more than badly written globs of words, like an English 101 essay full of clichés like “a bridge too far.” Instead of finding a better, more unique way to write, Buzzfeed staff and contributors rely on formulaic structures and key words.

I understand the attraction to BuzzFeed. Some of the article titles just suck you in, much like a National Enquirer cover. You can’t help but read with rapt attention about the “29 Lazy Ways To Clean Your Man Cave,” but by the end, you realize you’ve read a list of information that isn’t new or unique.

It’s easy to zone out to BuzzFeed articles, but I encourage and implore people to find a different way to get news. If the New York Times or Washington Post is too much “hard news” for you, try The Huffington Post or Reuters.

There you won’t be attacked with the random eccentricity of numbing articles that pretend to provide information. You’ll find yourself in the midst of quality work done by people who are more concerned with news than sensationalism.

Reading a few articles from BuzzFeed doesn’t mean the end of the world, and it won’t destroy journalism, but it certainly won’t elicit creativity or original content. If anything, it will only encourage and perpetuate the continuous flood of worthless information.

Continued consumption of BuzzFeed content only gives the impression that the site is doing quality work. Let me be frank: It is not.

 

 

Reach the columnist at kwrenick@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @kwrenick

 


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