Newhouse Insider: The Buzz about the BuzzFeed Class

Kaitlyn Tambasco

A few weeks ago, an incoming Newhouse student messaged me asking about electives that are available for the fall and spring semesters. When she asked me this, I knew I had the perfect chance to sell the BuzzFeed class, otherwise known as COM 630. I had first heard about this class over the summer, when myself and other members of the MND cohort were sent a list of electives that we could choose from. After reading the description of the class, I knew it was something that I wanted to try. I had always enjoyed taking BuzzFeed quizzes to find out everything from what pizza topping I am, to what I should try next at Dunkin’.

However, I would be lying to you if I said it was easy from the beginning. On the first day of class, I was late logging on, which was something I was so embarrassed about. Not to mention, I had decided to sit outside during that class, as I had an in-person class right before, and did not have time to make it back to my apartment within 10 minutes. Also on that first day, I ended up rushing back into Newhouse 3, because it started pouring towards the end of class. As a new student, that was definitely not how I wanted to start the fall semester of grad school.

As time went on, I found myself really enjoying that class. As a member of the BuzzFeed cohort, we received training from employees from BuzzFeed, as well as others who worked in social media, such as Curly Velasquez who actually interviewed Vice President Harris not too long before speaking with us. We also heard from Samir, who runs “Kale Salad,” which is a popular meme page on Instagram. However, one of the biggest parts of the class was making quizzes for BuzzFeed. We received training from Anna Kopsky, who is a community strategist for BuzzFeed, for our quizzes. Since meeting with her, one of the biggest goals among the class was to get promoted.

My first quiz was “We Know What You Should Eat For Dinner Based On The Vacation You Plan.” Shortly after our first quiz was due, other students in the class were talking about how they already got promoted. I was happy for these students, but secretly wished that I would be promoted as well. A few days later, I found myself on the home page of BuzzFeed and found my quiz there. I was so ecstatic and everything went uphill from there. I ended up making four quizzes (three graded, one just because), and they were all promoted. We also had the opportunity to make memes, and conduct a couple of analysis on BuzzFeed itself.

Even though this was an online class, it ultimately felt that it was an in-person class. The vibe was so positive, everyone got a chance to talk and it was almost like we were actually all in a classroom together.

To promote this idea, Professor Grygiel organized a COVID-safe in-person event at Thornden Park one afternoon. Since it was an online class, they wanted us to meet in person. I had made a last minute decision to go, and it was honestly one of the best afternoons I had in awhile. We made friendship bracelets that day, colored and just chatted.

As a graduate student, days like this really meant a lot, and I’m very happy to be in another class with Professor Grygiel this semester. The BuzzFeed class is open to both undergraduates and graduate students of Newhouse and is offered in the fall. I highly recommend it if you want to brush up on your social media skills, learn more about BuzzFeed entirely, meet new people, or just break out of your comfort zone.

Check out Kaitlyn’s personal blog.