[3/5/19] – Viral Videos: The Pizza Intern

This week looks at the viral video that came out of the Cohen hearings—that of a young man eating pizza, caught on camera in the back of a local news special. Known online as “Pizza Intern,” he has blown up across the internet and inspired a number of memes, laughs, and pizza names. Here we cover the story, but we also explore viral videos in general, what makes a video “viral,” and what gives memes the capability to dupe us via different mediums.

Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Viral Videos: The Pizza Intern



“tfw you go to eat your hallway pizza and get told you’re in the live shot.”


“What’s the secret to making content people love? Join BuzzFeed’s Publisher Dao Nguyen for a glimpse at how her team creates their tempting quizzes, lists and videos—and learn more about how they’ve developed a system to understand how people use content to connect and create culture.





Writing: What ethical considerations might there be in a company using a meme for profit? Consider, for instance, whether you believe “Pizza Intern” was paid for use of his image or not.

Debate: Should media sources be allowed to publish memes that contain falsehoods? Why or why not? What if the media outlet isn’t “news,” but a site like Twitter or Reddit, or a platform like Instagram?

Poll: Had you watched the Pizza Intern clip before this lesson?

  • Yes,
  • No,
  • Unsure

Short Answer: Like the Momo Challenge, when else in media (or your personal life) have you seen a lie passed around enough that people started believing it?


Current Events Quiz

Over how many views has the Twitter clip received?

  • 100,000
  • 1 million
  • 2 billion
  • 500,000

A video is viral when it has:

  • Views, longevity, and a Twitter following
  • Views, buzz, parody, and longevity
  • Longevity, humor, and celebrities
  • An audience with a wide age range

Pizza Intern has had $300 raised on a GoFundMe for him to:

  • Finish at Georgetown
  • Eat more pizza
  • Become a political intern
  • Buy new work clothes

The Momo Challenge is an example of a meme that was based on:

  • Something fake
  • A real event
  • Facts and figures
  • A novel

Memes are a(n) ____ new form of misinformation.

  • Charming
  • Fleeting
  • Exceptional
  • Dangerous



Photo credit: CBSN

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