Like many people, I’ve been walking around with a heavy heart because of the horrifying suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena on Monday. My Facebook news feed has been filled with an endless supply of articles about the attack — breaking updates, recaps, biographies of the victims and opinion pieces. All of this reading has really demonstrated the difference in news storytelling between the more “traditional” news outlets and newer, Millenial-focused publications. The former is still focused on long-form, newspaper-like articles and the latter uses more images, multimedia and information shared in tweet-like tidbits.
Take this article from The New York Times. It’s a great piece that both updates the reader on the increased terror levels as well as give a recap of everything that’s happened since the attack occurred. The voice is formal and professional — it definitely feels like a global newspaper. Moreover, the paragraphs are long and the language is fairly academic. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this style, as the Times is often considered the best newspaper in the world.
In contrast, there’s this BuzzFeed article. For one thing, it’s a “developing story” type article, which acts more of a social feed. As updates are created by the editorial team, they’ll get pushed to that link. This is nice, because it can be a one-stop-shop for all info on the attack, including the latest updates. There’s also no need to hunt down a bunch of links. But the different tone and style is what is so different from the Times. Beautiful images, embedded social posts and links fill the page. The paragraphs are short, bite-sized and succinct. There doesn’t seem to be a single wasted word. The language also feels like it’s catered for younger, social media-savvy readers.
In conclusion, I am not trying to make a judgement over which style is “better” — although I do appreciate the highly visual, succinct style of the Buzzfeed article — but rather demonstrate how journalism and storytelling are advancing and changing. The Times is sticking with its tried-and-true style, which originated in their newspaper, while Buzzfeed is taking advantage of digital and social media to its full capacity.