The Eternal Return of BuzzFeed

Adrienne LaFrance, Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, Apr 15, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

People like to criticize BuzzFeed, lamenting the form of the articles and quizzes, and worrying about the death of longform journalism. But BuzzFeed is just the latest in a long history of innovations in journalism, innovations ranging from the first magazines like Time, the national newspaper USA Today, and music video formats like MTV. This article is an extended look at these innovations, and usefully suggests that we look at BuzzFeed as part of a larger arc, not as a single episode unrelated to the rest of media. "BuzzFeed’s approach has freed its writers from certain longstanding constraints. Because their financial success isn’t tied to the number of people who view a specific story—and because they don’t have to worry about the interests of advertisers who appear on a particular page—they’re free to write stories they truly think readers will enjoy."

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