When I say “fluff”, I’m not talking about a light-hearted or fun story. There is always room in the news for that, there always has been. No, I’m referring to the next level of fluff pieces… Uberfluff; the kind of trashy, celebrity-based, dumbed down fluff and list items previously handled by celebrity gossip and humor sites.
These days, serious news websites have lost their way and resorted to celebrity gossip, uninspired top 10 lists, articles based around stupid YouTube videos, stories about sexual positions and random clickbait which pleads for you to click on it.
I understand that these websites are fighting with every other site on the internet for the almighty click dollar, but it is getting to the point where they are just taking the piss. Unfortunately journalists are being fired left, right and centre to make way for this kind of shitty uberfluff. I’m just glad I didn’t choose journalism as a career path.
Every second article is some for of clickbait or something they (falsely) believe is a highly shareable item that people will post on Facebook which in turn will bring more traffic to their website which they can convert into dollars when you click on an advert.
If I wanted to read about Kim Kardashian buying milk, Justin Bieber buying feminine hygine products, the best sexual position to make my partner happy, or what somebody from a 1930’s movie looks like today, I’ll visit a site that does it properly such as Mashable, Buzzfeed or Reddit. I don’t want, or need news organisations throwing randomly selected celebrity trash, top 10 lists, clickbait and sponsored stories my way trying to pass them off as news.
In the past, journalists would spend time researching and writing quality articles which reported on the news of the day. The stories would be in depth, well researched and professionally written by an adult journalist. These days the news sites seem to just want quick, throwaway items which could be written by a 15 year old intern with a crayon. I know a lot of journalists through my work and I can only imagine their frustration with this.
They want quick, throwaway items which feel like they were written by a 15 year old intern with a crayon
These screenshots were taken around 2pm Monday 30 June 2014.
News.com is owned by News Corp. A somewhat misleading name judging by the content on their homepage. Today there are headline stories about a journalist flashing her breasts (um, OK?), two stories about flying, things you never knew about American Pie (a 15 year old movie everybody loved), an item about what Dennis the Menace looks like now (also a 15 year old movie although nobody cared about this one) and some fluff about Shane Warne (something else nobody cares about any more). In amongst this are a couple of randomly placed serious news stories about conflict in Iraq and a missing marine. Talk about a change of pace.
NineMSN doesn’t fare much better. Down the right hand side of the homepage and every single story, you can find links to see inside a WAG’s newly decorated play room, a story about Kim Kardashian’s ass (again!), breaking news about the Kardashians riding in a speedboat, a swimsuit model wearing a bikini (am I wrong for assuming that wearing a bikini is part of her job?), and James Packer on a yacht (again).
At least the ABC is still trying to keep their integrity despite their continual funding cuts.
Please stop with the clickbait news
Unsurprisingly, the reason I visit a news website is for news, not for bullshit.
Please leave the uberfluff to the websites that do it well such as Mashable, Buzzfeed and Reddit. The reason these sites have succeeded is because that is all they do and they are good at it. They have an absolute tonne of new, user-created content being posted daily, which is then ranked on popularity and a user-based voting system highlights only the best stuff.
Despite everything I’ve just said, this post isn’t so much a rant about the crap that news sites post, or even the way in which they post it. Instead, it is a plea for these organisations to start taking themselves seriously as a source or reputable news once again again and stop assuming that we are all brain-dead, celebrity obsessed morons.
Maybe then they can stop firing their journalists and get back to reporting the news properly. Who knows, if they did that then people might start coming back to their sites again.