Debate Post_Not “Killing,” It’s “Transforming”


I would not say Buzzfeed and Gawker, which are a famous new type of online news/ journalism are “killing” the News Industry. Rather than words like killing or destroying, I would say they are “changing” and “transforming” the news Industry. 

I think everyone is nodding their heads when I say current news industry is quite different from the past. It is changing right now, and in the middle of many different changes, there are new types of online media news, which is Buzzed or Gawker. Buzzfeed described themselves as “social news and entertainment company” with a focus on digital media. Buzzfeed provides breaking news and original reporting similar to traditional media outlets, but in a little different way. They use more visual content with more entertainment voices with faster and more accessible ways to viewers. Gawker is based on similar ideas. It promotes itself as “the source for daily Manhattan media news and gossip.” They are still kind of “news” but more entertaining and consumer-interested based content.

At this time, when we try to decide these new media has bad or positive impact on the traditional news industry, I think there is the main question that we need to ask: “How and Why did these new forms of the news appear?” I think the answer is “because it is needed, and people want it!” There are changes in general format of the news, productions, and consuming. Also, people need to accept news industry is changing faster than the past as well. When we judge the new types of media in the industry, we should understand the position of customers, who are the viewers and consumers of the news nowadays rather than as the position of the news industry or journalists. As I asked a question by myself, my answer is “Buzzfeed and Gawker are not killing the news industry. They are making the news industry more diverse, and changing into a new way matched with different demands of people and new types of technology.”


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1) The advent of Buzzfeed and Gawker are appropriate changes along with new technologies. Smartphones are the example. Smartphones change the way of consuming news from traditional media, such as television or radio. As a medium of consuming news is changed, the media sources/news outlets that people want to get information are naturally changed as well. Smartphones make people feel no more need to sit down in their living room to watch television news. Instead of spending an hour for watching television news, people want to know what is happening outside quickly and in efficient ways. At this time, smartphones with these new online-based media sources, such as Buzzfeed and Gawker, were introduced to audiences. Even though their content is shorter, more casual, and more focused on entertainment, they successfully target the needs of people nowadays. They produce more diverse content/topics with attractive visuals. It matches with people’s desire to read a story in a simple, but interesting way. They do not want to make their eyes tired by reading long text-only articles through their small smartphone screens.
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Therefore, Buzzfeed and Gawker are not killing the news industry. They give more choices for viewers to select diverse sources to get information, and satisfy their different demands with new technology. I would rather these new outlets give diversity in the news industry.  Because they are all for “VIEWERS” and their successes (chart above) prove that people are tired of typical news and want new things.


2) Another reason is that still traditional news outlets have maintained their own area in media industry. They can co-exist with Buzzfeed and Gawker in the industry. They will also encourage each other to meet different demands of people by adjusting to constantly changing situations in the news industry. For example, young people more want to read visual-mixed articles, or more causal post with easy explanations; in contrast, still some people want actual facts from professional journalists. Traditional media outlets, such NYT or Fox News, satisfy the second group of people’s demand keeping their own area. People’s expectations towards them versus Buzzfeed are different as well. The core part of traditional media outlets are professional journalists and editors who deliver more serious and proven content to viewers. They are focused on the events and accidents occurred in the world, but Buzzfeed or Gawker are more focused on everyday life, such as cooking or celebrity gossip. Not only the content, but also the medium that delivers the news is different in these areas. Fox News’ main medium is television and NYT’s is newspaper. However, most new outlets are spread through Internet (social media). As their main media is different, speed of delivery and target audiences are different as well. Basically, I means that the field/sphere of traditional news outlets and Buzzfeed are different. Still people trust traditional news outlets’ content, and they know how differently they have to use NYT versus Gawker.


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As the chart above shows, in TV networks, traditional news outlets still hold their own with their unique characteristics and credibility. However, on the Internet, new kinds of content is created with different outlets. Even though the topic of the debate is “Buzzfeed and Gawker are killing the news industry,” it is not a simple issue of killing or not. It is complex. In different sphere (online/ TV networks), with different media (smartphone/ TV), different kinds of content (entertaining blog-type content/ traditional news report), written by different writers (normal people or editors/ professional journalism). In one of the NYT’s article, Nick Denton, founder and chief executive of Gawker Media said, “I’m pretty sure we have a revolution coming.” I also think that the revolution and transformation will keep occurring, and we cannot stop it. Like he said, one thing to remember is the definition of news will be changed, and ways of creating and consuming news will be also changed. We need to accept these changes and find a way to keep both of traditional and new types of news. 



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