BuzzFeed <3 social media

Twitter & effective use of links distinguish BuzzFeed News online.


My first newstrack blog post! This semester, I’m going to track how BuzzFeed News uses multimedia and social media elements in its reporting. BuzzFeed is an online-only news source, so I predict some level of expertise. We’ll see.

This week, I’m looking at this article by BuzzFeed News reporter Chris Geidner about the latest development in Trump’s refugee controversy.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates—a holdover from the Obama administration while President Trump tries to get Jeff Sessions approved—has instructed Justice Department attorneys not to enforce Trump’s executive-ordered bans on refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. This comes after a weekend of huge protests nationwide, as well as stays on the order by several federal judges.

Geidner packed three embedded tweets into this short article. After partially quoting one of the president’s tweets, Geidner embedded the full version, as well as some response tweets from Eric Holder, a former AG under Obama, and former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal. These tweets not only added more context and detail but were more visually arresting than a few traditionally inserted quotes.

Geidner also included the full text of Yates’s statement about her decision. This is helpful—if he included a link to it, I probably would not have clicked on it. It was a clever way to get his readers to gather as much context as possible without leaving BuzzFeed’s site. Well played, Geidner.

Geidner did link to a lot of other pages, but they weren’t anything vital to the understanding of the story like Yates’ statement. He only linked to additional info that readers don’t necessarily need, such as another BuzzFeed page that tracks each development in the controversy as it drops. All most readers need to understand is that such a lawsuit was filed, not the rest of the situation’s context, but Geidner made it available for those who want/need it.

Overall, Geidner used social media and other online elements to make a policy story accessible and readable. BuzzFeed is off to a good start for this Newstrack.

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