Online shareability: catalysing the news

The omnipotent atmosphere of digitalisation has brought upon countless opportunities to utilise its resources to the best ability. With digital news comes greater content shareability and exposure to the masses. But how can we, as journalists, make such content appeal to the standard of shareability?
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A news company most noted for its successful shareability is Buzzfeed, which produces countless articles of content each day to cater to its mass audience. At this year’s International Journalism Festival, Buzzfeed senior culture writer Doree Shafrir says there has been an evolution in what is shared online – the days when corgis and memes were (and still are) considered “shareable” has expanded to breaking news, as well as original, long-form journalism. While this shift has been noted, Buzzfeed UK editor Luke Lewis discussed that the power of visuals in a story is key to shareable success at a panel at City University London earlier this year. Visuals such as GIFS and Instagram photos all contribute to shareability and storytelling, according to Shafrir.

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However, with quality being an important aspect of journalism, Shafrir says it doesn’t necessarily equal to shareable content. Instead, she highlights exclusive news stories such as the Boston Marathon bombing as an example of shareable content. Regardless, the ability to tell good stories and report accurately are still important facets to look out for.

“If you’re not trusted as a news source, if you make mistakes all the time, people aren’t going to share your stuff because you can’t be trusted, because then it reflects badly on them.

Doree Shafrir

That being said, shareability means a great deal when visuals are involved. While exclusive stories are what drives more circulation, quality articles are still of importance when it comes to good storytelling and accuracy in facts.

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