Comparative online journalism analysis between BBC News and Buzzfeed – Assignment 1

Neighbours laying flowers at Imam Reza Mosque, the day after the massacre at Al Noor Mosque in Christcurch, New Zealand, CC. By Nick.
Neighbours laying flowers at Imam Reza Mosque, New Lynn, Auckland the day after the massacre at Al Noor Mosque in Christcurch, New Zealand

This critical analysis will compare a mainstream online news – BBC News with a digital born service – Buzzfeed. Publishing context, target users and demographics, online delivery analysis, and technical use will be identified by giving examples of news story with both news services.

BBC News

Publishing context and their user groups

BBC’s full name is ‘The British Broadcasting Corporation’, which is a British public service broadcaster. BBC began daily radio broadcast from 1922, and it was funded mainly by a license fee which paid by British nationals. Before the establishment of British independent Television in 1955, BBC was the only television and radio broadcaster in the UK. BBC also offers other related services, including book publishing, newspapers, symphony orchestras, and internet news.

For the data of user groups, the comptroller and Auditor General has provided the BBC’s understanding of its audiences and user in 2017 (National Audit office). It is reported that a target 9 million active monthly signed-in users have been successfully reached until August 2017, and it reached 12.6 million active monthly signed-in users until the end of year 2017 (p.9). It also analyzed that BBC online service has been visited by 40 million unique UK-based visitors until June 2017 (comScore, UK Digital Market overview). The BBC was reaching a record weekly audience of 376m global people in 2018.

However, it is difficult to find the demographic data in the British Broadcasting Corporation. Alexa reveals the demographic data of the users. It shows that the age between 45-54 years and +65 years old are more likely to use the BBC, and more than a half BBC user is female. The users with the income between $30k -$60 are reached to 65%, and most of them do not have a child.

The demographic data of the users in Alexa
The demographic data of the users in Alexa

BBC News: Christchurch shootings: 49 dead in New Zealand mosque attacks

The headline tells the story simply and clearly. It was the most breaking and shocking news that happened on the morning of 15 March 2019, and it became the headline in the homepage of every single news platform. 49 people were killed and 48 wounded in the New Zealand mosque massacre.

Fairness, accuracy, relevance.

This story was published without individual journalist name, and it was written in a third person which represents the official press release. The facts and authenticity have been fully stated without exaggeration to audience. Foust(2017, p.4) mentions that information should be reported in balanced without bias, which can be provided the originally sources that where the facts come from. The information that is given is also important to the audience. such as how this massacre happened? Who are the suspects and why they plan this attack? What is the public reaction?

The story introduces the main suspect -Brenton Tarrant and how they were arrested and commented by public. Then it tells how events unfolded, which gives a map with labels of two attacks, and some interviews with witnesses. After that, the main suspect was mentioned again of the reason he began planning an attack. Then the related event ‘Cricket team escape attack’ and global reaction that mentions trump and Australian Prime Minister’s twitter are written in the end of the story.

The written language is direct and neutral, it states the facts without commenting the characteristic of the suspect(Fowler, 1991, p.1). The data that is provided is accurate because the data comes from the official statistical result from the government, and it remains the same sources by different news services.

Online deliveryinteractivity, community, hyperlinks, multimedia

This story tells the basic information that more details is limited to be covered in this news. However, it can be easily to access other relevant and extensible information in BBC news. Hyperlinks are used frequently to tell more details about each topic online. Such as ‘what is known about the suspects’, ‘what are NZ’s gun laws’ or ‘social media’s role in Christchurch attack’.

The text, some images and three videos have been covered in this story. It satisfies the requirement to access the relevant evidences for this attack to audience. The video that is provided by the BBC, and it can be directly viewed with good quality without opening other links, and the audience can obtain embed code and watch it with full screen, which is convenient.

The communities and interactivity are also presented nicely through the context. It presents the interaction between the witness and BBC journalist by emailing, then the comments will be published. However, it can be improved better if all readers can engage with journalist, with both contents and mistakes to serve a community(Bradshaw, 2018:, p.82).

functionality and useability

The page is highly functional, and it is easy to read. The length of each paragraph is moderate(Bradshaw, 2018, p.77). Also, it has clear subheadings with important information bold. Different links can be accessed easily with bullet list in black bold form. Scannability is key to effective online journalism, including a clearly summary, clear subheadings, numbers, hyperlinks and more(Bradshaw, 2018, p.80).

The use of white background and black words show the seriousness and respect to this event, which does not need the bright color background. Deuze mentions that the good format can be used to tell a certain story with functional and navigational.


Publishing context and their user groups

Buzzfeed is an American internet media, which was established in the New York City by Jonah Peretti in 2006. The company was a viral lab that researched hot topics on the web, and now is a global media company which is providing latest news on politics, business, and animals. Buzzfeed is aimed to reach multiple markets and viewers, and target every type of audience, which is similar to BBC. Buzzfeed captures three main markets with a mass audience, such as food, lifestyle and parenting.

It is also difficult to find the user’s data in the official Buzzfeed website and other publication. Formerly Digital Marketing Ramblings (DMR) has reported that more than 200 million unique users visit Buzzfeed per month until year 2016, and the total global audience has reached 650 million until year 2018.

Alexa also reports the demographics data with ‘who visits’. It is surprising to find that most of the Buzzfeed user is female, which highly exceeds the internet average. The age between 18-24 years old, which is the group of young people, is likely to watch Buzzfeed news, and the audiences with income more than $30k would like to choose

the demographics data with ‘who visits
the demographics data with ‘who visits’

Buzzfeed News: Christchurch Updates: New Zealand Has Banned Viewing And Sharing Of Mosque Attack Video


Different from BBC News, this is an updating news from 14 March to 19 March that covers different areas of news about Christchurch mosque shooting, but BBC News covers lots of links to access other related information. There is an individual journalist name for this story, who is Richard James with his by-line. Also, the reader’s name can be clicked to look for his previous updating and his information. It introduces the basic information in the first part, including numbers of victim, video prohibition in social media. Then, numerous updating about this story are developed, which also include other attributing journalists at the end of each part.

Like the BBC, it also remains accuracy and fairness in the language. However, the focus contents are different. BBC mentions lots of contents about the suspect – Brenton Tarrant, but Buzzfeed focus on the politics, laws, and the eyewitness’s experience, which does not mention the suspect. It lacks of the ‘politics’ of critical analysis that should provide the information of the suspect and how public treat this event (Christopher, Kim, Cheryi, and Rockell, 2012: p.232)

Multimedia, less hyperlinks, interactive

For a long updating story, most information is composed with images and words in each updating parts, and some posts will have video. The video mostly comes from other platforms with good quality, such as Instagram, Youtube, and AP News, whereas the video in BBC comes from their own platform. The images provided are related to the contents that come from different social media platforms. Also, there are some parts that can provide open links to access tweeter and Instagram to show the public reaction.

Buzzfeed contains less links, and most words that are linked are ‘has repeatedly’, ‘has responded’, ‘said’, ‘read more here’ with black underline to the links. The links can access other related sources into Buzzfeed news. For the pictures, it does not provide the related links to where are the photos from, which cannot get the advanced contexts.

There is less interactivity towards this story. It provides the contacts information for the journalists and readers can retweet, share, and copy the links of what they read to others. However, the communication and interaction between news itself and the public are still limited. It does not provide the opportunities or platforms to make a comment. However, Buzzfeed opens quizzes for different hot topic. Audience can choose the topic they are interested, and then can get the result for what they choose. The comment is opened for testers to share their experience and results in public.

Less Functional and Accessible, low useability

The page is less functional and accessible. The white background with black words is easy to represent the information, and the links are labelled suitably. Although each part is divided clearly with bold subheading and the length of each paragraph is easy to read, the information and parts are messy without disorder. The sources about politics, laws, family are laid out together. Audience will feel bored to read too much sources with only words and images. It is uncomfortable to see the combination of different updating in different date together.

Word Count: 1671 Over word count


Reference, 15 March 2019, ‘Christchurch shootings: 49 dead in New Zealand mosque attacks’,  accessed 24 March 2019.


Bradshaw, Paul (2018), The online Journalism handbook – skills to survive and Thrive in the Digital Age, Routledge, New York., 15 March 2019, ‘Christchurch Updates: New Zealand Has Banned Viewing And Sharing Of Mosque Attack Video’,,  accessed 24 March 2019.


Christopher P. Campbell, Kim M. LeDuff, Cheryl D. Jenkins, and Rockell A. Brown (2012), Race and News: Critical Perspectives, Routledge, New York.


Deuze, Mark (1993), ‘Online Journalism: Modelling the First Generation of News Media on the WWorld Wide Web’, Peer-reviewed Journal on the Internet , vol. 6, no. 10, accessed 1 October 2001.


Foust, Jim (2017), Online Journalism: Principles and Practices of News for the web, Routledge, New York.


Fowler, Roger (1991), Language in the News: Discourse and ideology in the Press, Routledge, New York.


Media Center (BBC), 22 June 2018. BBC’s Global audience rises to 376m,, accessed in 25 March 2019.


National Audit Office, 6 Dec 2017. The BBC’s understanding of its audiences and users., accessed in 26 March 2019.


Smith, Craig, 23 March 2019. 38 Amazing Buzzfeed Statistic and Facts (2019) by the numbers, DMR,, accessed 24 March 2019.

About Stella Li 4 Articles
This is Stella Li! A 22 years old girl who is studying the master degree- media practice at the university of Sydney.

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