Fuck I hate what the internet has done to news. A story with the most tenuous link to something on the internet – facebook, twitter, games on smartphones – is suddenly newsworthy, regardless of how nothing-y it actually is. Like this one on smh.com.au, ripped straight from mashable: What a score: how Words with Friends saved Aussie’s life.
Wow, what a great story! Did he get tiles that allowed him to spell out that there was an intruder in his house? Did he happen to play words in a particular sequence that is a known indicator of disease? Fuck no. That’s because Words with Friends didn’t save his life. A woman told her friend about her husband’s symptoms. Her friend told her doctor husband. The doctor husband told the man to see a doctor immediately. That is what saved his life. Saying that Words with Friends saved his life makes as much sense as saying Steve Jobs saved his life because he used an iPhone to call 000. You know, we’ve had the internet for a few decades now, it’s probably time to stop breathlessly reporting on it.
Which brings me to Facebook. There are few things the MSM loves more than a “Facebook killer”. If the killer met his/her victim on the bus, journos wouldn’t be putting “bus killer” in the headline. Yes, I understand that having an easily identifiable moniker helps for headlines – so people know who the story is about – but I find a name works pretty well for that.
And while I’m ranting about journalists coming in their pants over the chance to put twitter or Facebook in a headline, we have News Ltd sites dutifully reporting the tweets of Uncle Rupe, on an almost daily basis. Today’s story is about a tweet in which he says Google is a content pirate – something he’s been saying since 2009. Probably earlier. And because News Ltd sites have these stories, Fairfax sites also have them, because everyone has to have the same stories. Honestly, the only way you can tell you’re on dailytelegraph.com.au and not smh.com.au these days is the boobs. (Oh, ok, the boobs and the typos.)
Now, I’m not trying to make news boring. Boring news is a lack of ability on the part of the journalist to make the topic interesting. But if you need to pretend your story is about a popular game in order to get people to read it, then perhaps you need to think about whether this is the right career for you. There are jobs that pay a lot better than journalism.