The buzz on Buzzfeed: can readers learn the news from lists?

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University of Alabama Libraries

As the Internet continues to grow, change, and develop, new media forms emerge. Among these new forms is BuzzFeed, an aggregator-type outlet combining humor, entertainment, and news directed toward young adults. Its storytelling techniques--short text blocks with unrelated images--raise questions about information retention and credibility when compared to traditional storytelling techniques used by traditional news messengers. This study uses the Elaboration Likelihood Model and credibility theory to explain BuzzFeed's place as a form of journalism. An experiment, comparing a BuzzFeed story treatment to a USA Today story treatment, was conducted on 438 college-age students during Spring 2014. It found that most young adults preferred BuzzFeed, saying they enjoyed the site for its humor and entertainment. A test of story knowledge showed that students who first read the USA Today treatment retained more information than students who first read the BuzzFeed treatment. Implications are discussed.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation