Buzzfeed Violates Ethical Journalism Essay

1556 Words 7 Pages
They Don’t Bait Us: Buzzfeed Follows Ethical Journalism


Digital media mogul Buzzfeed came under fire in 2014 when Jon Stewart publicly accused the company of using clickbait. At this time, the media company was on the upswing, quickly dominating online print and video journalism and accumulating a cult following. The accusation sparked two responses from two different Editors-in-chief at Buzzfeed and an in-depth look at the company’s linguistic statistics. The frenzy left a few questions in its wake: does clickbait actually violate journalism ethics? How much, if at all, can companies like Buzzfeed “fluff” up the title of an article to entice readers? The quick answers is yes, clickbait violates ethical principles regarding truth and preservation of intended meanings. Companies like Buzzfeed can avoid unethical practices by ensuring the piece
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In fact, the headlines don’t work.

The piece lists several screenshots of Woolf’s data with words blacked out to create headlines. Most are presented alongside a statement that suggests Woolf’s data undermines the intelligence and drive of their readers: the titles are silly, and they could in no way produce an ethically sound article.

The point is driven home at the end of the piece, where the other suggests a title composed of the word “you” over 10 times is described as “the perfect post” (Phillips, 2015). Ultimately, Buzzfeed writes headlines that appeal to you, the reader. If it doesn’t appeal to you, they don’t expect you to click and

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