Posted in personal
July 14, 2011

Sensational Title Goes Here!

I think that the internet has been a good thing for news. Instead of having to wait until the next airing of the local news, you can get access to what’s going on in your area right now. Very useful.

However, there are a couple of problems with internet news. Big ones, too. The first problem is the human tendency to want to be… first! Look at any comment thread on a site, and you’ll find the person who feels the need to post “first” even though they have nothing else to say. What does this have to do with news? It seems more and more often that in the rush to be first, a lot of news desks will put up incomplete stories, often with unverified information. A good example of this was the story that broke nationally from rural Texas, where police were searching a property after getting a tip from a psychic that there were bodies buried there. No bodies were found, but by then nearly every major media outlet was throwing out headlines about remains being found. Corrections were issued, but not until everyone looked a little silly.

It was clear that news agencies were getting their information from other news agencies, playing telephone. Had anyone called the law enforcement agency in question, they would have said that it was merely a tip.

Which leads to the second problem, which is that news sites are also driven by page views. Headlines are written to entice people to click on the story. Which is how you wind up with stories like last nights’ “Glee’s Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith not returning next season”. It reads as though they won’t be coming back for Season Three, but instead all the stories were about an interview that Ryan Murphy gave where he confirmed that Season Three would be their last seasons- since they’d be graduating. Which is nothing new for anyone who watched Glee. Each season has been a school year, it’d be a little silly if the majority of the seniors didn’t graduate.

Even when the headlines weren’t ambiguous, they were trying to push an idea that anyone who was a fan of the show already knew. After all, you can’t exactly call it “Glee” if the show is about the same kids after they’ve graduated.

Is it too much to ask to actually get something that’s been researched and proof-read, and have headlines that are less tabloid, more news?

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