Everyone on #teamnewsapp is committed to delivering a delightful news experience for our mobile audiences.
Every day, we try to deliver interestingness, context, background, and the feeling of being informed.
Almost everybody has that one friend who’s really interesting and really witty and the sparkling guest at the dinner party. That friend who always has one anecdote that nobody else at the dinner party had heard. We want to be like that friend.
We want you to stumble upon something through us that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen. It’s important to note that this may not always be something that we write.
On any given day, the feed in the BuzzFeed News app consists of a mix of reporting by our teams around the world, and excellent pieces from other media organizations. There’s a huge amount of good work that lives on the Internet and on social and BuzzFeed isn’t afraid to highlight it.
But providing a well-rounded app feed is one thing. Making the feed interesting, accessible, and digestible is another.
As editors, we keep in mind that our users might only have 30 seconds to catch up on the news.
Our goal, especially in cases of major breaking news, is to provide an app stream that’s digestible on the go.
Here’s a look a how we covered the Nov. 13 Paris attacks:
We know that when news breaks, the who, why, when, and how matter just as much as the what. So we make sure our audiences get the context and background to major news events as they happen.
We also love highlighting that our reporters are on the ground gathering and breaking news, and that they regularly provide live updates. We also collaborate with our colleagues on sharing recommended reading or, as in the example below, listening material.
By showcasing reporters and writers’ work from News, Buzz, Life, and Video, we’re giving our users a more comprehensive and native mobile experience. They can easily connect with reporters and writers and continually feel engaged with an ongoing story or topic. On the flip side, this cross-collaboration benefits the entire BuzzFeed network.
In terms of how we tell stories, this involves a variety of formats.
As seen in the examples above, we use various modules to tell stories. Links to BuzzFeed posts. Timelines. Numbered lists. Native text modules. Quote modules. Vine embeds. Tweet embeds. Photo galleries.
Our app feed is curated with the assumption that not every user will tap through to a URL to find out more. We consider those who might only be reading the Quickly Catch Up section, which depicts the top three stories of the day. Those who are commuting to and from work on the subway with intermittent data access. Or who are in a line at a grocery store.
So how can we both condense a piece into a single, pithy module that leaves our users feeling informed? Furthermore, how can we grab their attention while doing this? Among other formats, we experiment with shareable quotes, map, and emoji-driven lists. All of which help diverse our app stream.
All About That Push
And like many news apps, we send push alerts.
Before crafting push notifications, we ask ourselves: Is this push…
Confirmed? Is the information I am sending confirmed, factual and well-sourced? Self-standing? Can someone read just the notification and feel informed and caught up? Contextual? Do we have room to add context that will give this a little extra oomph?
We send push notifications because we want to inform people of important breaking news, bring clarity during fast-moving stories, and delight or surprise our audience with news they might find useful or even entertaining.
We on #teamnewsapp want to continue being that fun and interesting friend who knows what’s happening around the world and who always has something extra to bring to the table.
This means our storytelling approach will continue to attempt to answer the question: what’s the atomic unit of what someone needs to know about what’s going on in the world? How can we add a little extra to that? And how do we make all of the above fun?
For the latest on our end, keep an eye on #teamnewsapp on Twitter.