|Buzzfeed’s All Growns Up
By: Mike Bush
In September of 2001, the day planes crashed into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and field in Pennsylvania, a communications professor at George Mason did something that everyone thought was insane. He held class. He turned the news on (it was a comms class, after all), and as the students watched (I was one of them), he talked about how different media had become. He discussed how different things were in 2001, as compared to other major, US altering events, like the JFK assassination.
At the time, all of the students were incredulous. How could this guy wax poetic about the TV industry and mass communications when people were dying. In front of us. On TV.
As it turns out, for my person experience, I still remember who was sitting in the classroom with me. I remember the discussions, and when something major happens, I tend to look at it through the lens of a professional communicator.
I can’t say that 2001 me appreciated the lesson we discussed that day, but 2015 me sure does.
And it’s through the lens of a professional communicator that yesterday, for me, Buzzfeed became a grown up. Buzzfeed did something that none of the major news organizations did. This article put a face on each of the victims of the shooting in South Carolina. It’s incredibly powerful, and touching, and sad.
If I were to be critical (professional communicator and all… it’s what we do), I’d say that maybe Buzzfeed could have stripped out some of the links to other articles… in reading this article I don’t so much care about the California Burrito that’s a game changer, nor am I worried about whether Taylor Swift’s new album will be on Apple Music (as long as it’s on Pandora). Other publications have a plan in place for these things. Hopefully someone at Buzzfeed is working on a template for the next time a tragedy like this happens.
And hopefully, the template will never need to be used.
As of this writing, the Buzzfeed article on the victims has been viewed 1.6 million times. It’s an incredible piece of journalism. And one that makes it look like Buzzfeed’s all growns up.
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc.
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