Tuesday, January 24, 2017

There is no ‘I’ in ‘News’ …or is there?

There shouldn’t be. But the term ‘news’ and ‘news organization’ have been bent and/or stretched (however you prefer to make tangible the concept) a great deal recently.

We’re living in bubbles of same-mindedness. We seek shelter and prop up our own opinions among the like-company we keep, thereby shielding ourselves from the reality of mounting differences of opinion.

And now, there are a lot of ‘I’s’ in the ‘news’. …And ‘we’ and ‘us’ and ‘our’. 
‘News’ wants to fit in, so, it’s adopted our lingo and stakes out a view on EVERYTHING.

Like much of what we love/hate lately, we have social media to thank.

More specifically, the norms of communication and expression that have evolved online over time.

We used to Surf the Web. Now, we scroll our Feed.

‘The’ to ‘our’. An important distinction. We used to be a site 'visitor'. Now it’s OUR wall, MY post. Our ‘likes’ add to an algorithm to show us more of the same as we ‘unfollow’ that which we don’t agree.

But what’s Social Media got to do with News Media?

We stopped coming to them, so they came to us.

The number of followers and engagement on social media opened new avenues for monetization and suddenly, every story was a chance to attract eyeballs and add dollars. Organizations had to get crafty; their headlines and taglines had to fit the pithy, conversation-style of the platform.

Click Bait, disguised as Opinion, parading as News.

That’s what we’re left with. Cases in point:

Stop it.

Inanimate publications taking (and LEADING with) specific opinions... No story, no headline, just conversational-style, common language click bait. I know these are just fluff pieces, but that’s what I have a beef with.

They think if they use enough of the latest buzzwords and catchphrases, they can ‘blend in’ and have their voice heard among the scroll of conversation! 
Posts can be enticing without reeking of such desperation. Consider:

“GALLERY: The Obama Family: their Years in the White House”
Possible teasers: How many do you remember? -OR- Which are your favorites?

“INAUGURAL PLAYLIST: A Compilation of Music from the Artists Confirmed to Perform”

Possible teasers: How many names do you know? -OR- A veritable who’s-who of who?!s

Still punchy click bait, but at *least* they don’t appear to take a stance.

research and adjust, posting on the TOPICS your audience cares most about. (You are a business, after all).

structure posts in quick, easily-in/easy-out, digestible sound bites suited for the hyper-short attention spans of the internet era.

DON’T Do the Readers’ Job

Leave the OPINIONS to US. It will give us something new to add on the re-share. (That’s more clicks, more eyeballs on your story, you know). Help us help YOU.