What We Talk About When We Talk About BuzzFeed

Illustration by Andre Gawan for Tech in Asia.

When I think of BuzzFeed, we don’t think of news first. We think of gifs, zodiac quizzes, and BuzzFeed’s bread and butter: the listicle.

BuzzFeed’s celebrity and pop culture coverage uses listicles liberally, but I hadn’t seen one yet in BuzzFeed News. Today, I found one, written by Rose Troup Buchanan.

The title: “A Bunch Of World Leaders Fell Asleep At This International Summit And The Photos Are Amazing.”


It’s exactly what it sounds like. The listicle begins with a description of the annual Arab Summit, where 16 Arab leaders gathered to discuss issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This article, though, isn’t focused on the topics of discussion. It’s about listing all the leaders who fell asleep during the meeting, along with funny pictures of them snoozing.

After that, Buchanan includes Tweets about the sleepy statesmen, some of which are indignant or sarcastic, but many are funny memes.

This isn’t the only time BuzzFeed News has covered the sleep habits of Arab leaders. In 2013, then-Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi caught some Z’s at that year’s Arab Summit, and BuzzFeed reported on that, too.

I’m fine with a goofy news story now and then, so I don’t mind these listicles. Plus, contrary to the views of some purists, I think listicles can be the best way to explain an issue to somebody, especially when they are just learning about it for the first time. This listicle isn’t a great example of explanatory journalism, but it made me laugh.

Let’s get an actual article about the actual summit to go along with it, though, BuzzFeed. Don’t let this be a standalone—we need the meat of the story along with the laughs.


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