Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it. While browsing Facebook instead of preparing for that tutorial, we’ve been lured onto that Buzzfeed article that’s popped up on our timeline. Irresistible headlines such as “Ten McDonald’s Menu Hacks You Need To Know”, “Ten Pictures Of Ryan Gosling Looking Dark And Mysterious”; homing missiles aimed straight at the average procrastinator.
On the surface this seems harmless. These vapid time-killers can provide us with a laugh and a few moments of distraction from the sometimes grim realities of student life. The danger is subtle, but it is real.
This danger arises when Buzzfeed is referred to as ‘journalism’. Journalism has evolved since the invention of the printing press, and for centuries it was known as the pursuit and distribution of important news. Surely the average person would be hard-pressed to call “If Horror Movie Villains Were Chilling On Snapchat” a story?
In an age where social media dominates the internet, and where people lead lives too hectic to sit down and read the paper every day, what we are witnessing is the dumbing down of journalism. We have seen a swing towards bitesize articles: The Independent launched ‘I’, tabloids continue to use sensationalised headlines and gossip stories. Buzzfeed are at the forefront of this, and seem all too eager to profit from journalism’s banalisation.
So what is to be done to preserve journalistic integrity? Change must come from the reader. As long as there is demand for these mind-numbing pieces, that is what they will give us. Try to resist the temptation to look at those “Ten Cats Who Are Having A Bad Day”, and instead dig out an article about some actual current affairs, or an opinion piece from someone with a respectable degree and no record of phone hacking.
It may seem like effort, but it still counts as procrastination, and it will allow you to appear intelligent around the dinner table when you show off your knowledge of current fiscal policy as opposed to J-Law’s quirkiest moments. The future of journalism is in your hands, don’t let Buzzfeed fatally dilute it.
Are Buzzfeed style articles diluting ‘real’ journalism? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!