The Sun ‘BuzzFeeds’ its political coverage
Posted By Joanna Drake
As one of the country’s most widely read newspapers, The Sun is in an ideal position to influence opinion and drive the news agenda – something it’s been proud to do for many years (remember ‘It’s the Sun wot won it’?).
It’s also a keen innovator. It became one of the first mainstream papers to put up an online paywall in order to help stem a declining circulation and profit. Now it’s set to change the way it reports general elections.
This week, The Sun online has launched a dedicated general election website – SunNation – with the aim of making politics engaging. Its design is perhaps intentionally reminiscent of another media giant – BuzzFeed.
In the last few years, BuzzFeed has come out of nowhere to become one of the most regularly read online magazine sites in the world. Working to a mix of entertainment news, quizzes, ‘listicles’ and hard news, the website has gained a devoted following of users who spend hours devouring the endless amounts of content available.
SunNation has learned from BuzzFeed’s example. Journalists have long debated just how politicians and the media can combat voter apathy – and this site is sure to help. Interestingly, the site is not included in The Sun’s paywall – whether that’s marking an intention to mobilise the masses by making it easy for them to access the content, or simply a drive to boost unique visitor numbers is a matter of opinion. Either way, it shows that the site means business.
By including a mix of fun facts, humorous snippets, plenty of video, graphics galore and – of course – serious news, the site is aiming to revolutionise the way politics and, more specifically, elections are reported in the UK.
Whether it has an impact on the electoral turnout remains to be seen. Watch this space…