Buzzfeed’s Art of a Review

By Claudine Gale

Tualatin High School, (Tualatin, Oregon)

 

In writing a review, a journalist must consider descriptions and words that evoke a certain feeling in the reader, far more complex than calling something “good” or “bad”. The goal of a review is to persuade, therefore a review must evoke a sense of style and flair as to entice readers.

For many reviews, I look to Buzzfeed News, a true innovator in the field of digitized journalism. Though at first it appears to be just another tabloid with its gossipy and straight-to-the-point style of reporting on celebrities and politicians.

Upon further examination, I discovered that Buzzfeed has in fact managed to become the most successful news website of the decade.

Not only does Buzzfeed report on the tabloidal aspect of news, but they take on more serious news in a way that appeals to young people and Generation Z. In addition, they invent new ways to present reviews to target their audience. Buzzfeed will often use the headlines of their reviews to stage their products in an interesting way, including titles like “10 Things You Should Definitely Buy for Your Next Beach Trip!” or “This Product is the Literal Worst”. The news source’s snappy headlines clearly appear biased and persuasional, but there’s no denying the fact that they do a good job of drawing readers in.

Buzzfeed writers often style their reviews to contextualize and compare the film at hand with current movie trends. This inspires readers to consider how the current crop of movies defining today’s society. For example, Buzzfeed suggests the recent wave of superhero movies alludes to hard times, people need heroes to look up to, and that all studios are now capitalizing on this phenomena with varying degrees of success.

The main key to the success of Buzzfeed, especially within their reviews, is that it tends to hire writers with comfortable styles of writing, meaning that they don’t sound stiff or unattached from their audience. When they write, they sound like people that audiences want to know and relate to. Buzzfeed writers sound like normal people, and that distinguishes them from older, more formal writing styles such as the New York Times and The Washington Post.

 

This story was produced by student reporters as part of the WANT Summer Journalism Fellowship, an annual collaboration among aspiring journalists. For more information go to youthjournalismpdx.com

Photo credit: Mark Wilkie

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