Snarky Behavior

The Washington Post Either Doesn’t Know What News Is Anymore, or Doesn’t Care

July 31, 2007 · 3 Comments

Yesterday my boss directed me to an article she read online at WaPo titled “For the ‘I Like Turtles’ Boy, 17 Seconds of Fame.”

I didn’t get it.

Although the kid did remind me of an child I saw recently at Cracker Barrell who stared at me throughout my meal, making pterodactyl noises.

My boss admitted to me that she couldn’t identify just what exactly compelled her to send me the link, other than (maybe) to confirm that this actually constituted “news” worthy of being covered by the Washington Post. In the ensuing conversation, we decided the following:

  1. 1.) It’s not, in any stretch of the imagination, news.
  1. 2.) The fact that WaPo reported it as news is an indication of how muddled and directionless print media’s response has been to the Age of Information. Instead of leveraging the brand to harness the public’s wanderlust in an internet over-abundant with breaking news and information, the old-guard media is entering the fray of the unwashed. Hey WaPo! I don’t want a snarky blogger on staff, ironically dismissing important issues! I can already get that, (much better in fact), from The Onion, or The Daily Show. You know what I want from you? News and analysis! It’s not that f-ing hard!
  1. 3.) Online news-reporters, as a profession, are the worst kind of hacks. They are consumed by information overload because, unlike 95% of the rest of the population (myself excluded), their job entails endless surfing of the internet. This reality wouldn’t be so dangerous if the writers didn’t assume that their readership base engaged in the same idle web exploratory habits. [See my previous post on news "bloggers." Or don't. See if I care.] Online news-reporters may be “linked” in to the early-adopters, but they’re still neglecting the lemmings and luddites.
  1. 4.) It’s also painfully obvious that online news-reporters are held to a lower standard of editorial review. This is partially a result of information overload, but mainly seems due to the fact that online writers don’t need to “fill inches” for a layout editor. They run with “all the news that’s fit to print… and then some.”

Frankly, this kind of online reporting is like adding a buffet table to a five star restaurant. Sure, it might get more people in the door. But, do you really want them there?

Before you know it, your classy establishment is Reno, Nevada. And your WSJ is being bought out by Fox News Corp.

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