This morning, the New York Times was the first to report that Dick’s Sporting Goods will no longer sell assault-style weapons. Buzzfeed News followed. This decision was made in direct response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida two weeks ago. In their statement, Dick’s announced that they sold a shotgun to the shooter in November 2017. Dick’s wrote “it was not the gun, nor type of gun…but it could have been.”
Before even reading the two articles, I found it interesting that I had to search on Buzzfeed to find this story while the New York Times article appeared on the front page. This could point to the different audiences and demographics each news outlet is hoping to target.
In comparison, I noticed a difference between the New York Times and Buzzfeed’s articles. At the top of their article, the New York Times’ featured photo is of the gun department of a Dick’s Sporting Goods store. This photograph has distance which shows sensitivity to the topic. On the contrary, Buzzfeed decided to feature a close-up photograph of an assault rifle. It is not surprising that Buzzfeed chose to be more provocative than the New York Times.
While Buzzfeed includes images of Dick’s Sporting Goods’ statements via Twitter, the New York Times chooses to quote the statement throughout their article and give context to each decision that was made. This speaks to Buzzfeed’s repeated use of social media platforms that contrasts the New York Times more traditional reporting style.
In some ways, Buzzfeed is simply responding to the New York Times article. Their story is a essentially a shorter version of the New York Times’ equivalent. Buzzfeed also credits the New York Times for reporting the story first and provides a link to their more detailed article.
This story is particularly important in the context of other large businesses, like Delta Airlines, that are taking a stand against gun violence. As opposed to the government setting the standard for businesses to follow, businesses are taking control. In this unusual situation, it will be important to see how the government reacts to this change.