LOL. WTF. OMG. BuzzFeed suddenly looks like a newspaper.
The hyperviral publisher, known best for keeping us all up to date on Kylie Jenner and “the so-called Kardashian curse,” has launched a serious journalistic spinoff called BuzzFeed News. With the new site comes a new design. Buzzfeed.com still has all of the colorful splash and emotes you know, with a focus on big, bold text formatting that prioritizes listicles. Buzzfeednews.com, on the other hand, is presented in stoic black and white, with modern sans serif headlines that sit over the traditional serifed (newspapery) copy throughout its stories. BuzzFeed News also has a more aggressive approach to information hierarchy. While on BuzzFeed, most stories are presented in a traditional, dual-column blog format, Buzzfeed News has a tight news bar, a large middle splash, and a few medium-sized story presentations all before the fold. Only when you scroll down does it become a more typical blog. Finally, the biggest difference may be that BuzzFeed News adds white space. BuzzFeed’s stories are presented on white cards atop a gray backdrop, while BuzzFeed News ditches any hints of gray. It’s a simple change, but the entire site is calmer on your eye as a result.
Of course, BuzzFeed has been a bastion for serious journalism for years now–BuzzFeed News was previously a channel on Buzzfeed.com–and Buzzfeed.com will still cross-promote some BuzzFeed News stories on its homepage. But it can be hard for the psyche to bridge the gap between, say, Joe Bernstein’s landmark scoop on how white supremacist ideas became normalized in mainstream media, alongside a Skittles rainbow of stories about how you just knooowwww you’re 30.
In terms of traffic, BuzzFeed‘s own landing pages are, in a way, less important than the social engines that drove the publisher to prominence; social feeds are the true landing sites of modern publishing. But that hasn’t stopped readers, trapped in an uncertain time and hungry for traditional news, to turn back to traditional, buttoned-up outlets like the New York Times and CNN for their daily fix. At a time when journalism itself is being outright attacked by the highest powers of our nation and the world, it makes a lot of sense for BuzzFeed to shift its look from American Apparel logo tees to a properly tailored suit.