Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Internet news fails me

Basically, Internet news has now adopted so many of the irritating conventions of traditional news, I have no reason to rely on it anymore. Every service seems to have its own sin.

CNN.com has basically ceased to be a source of written news. The last time I opened CNN.com last week, I found that out of the top 13 story links on the main page, 5 were video-only, and another 3 were part-text and part-video. CNN.com is basically going from being a news website to serving as an Internet portal for the CNN network. It's like going to a radio station's website now...there's less and less actual original content, and more just a link to a webstream of the same exact stuff their (more annoying traditional media) counterpart is providing.

Yahoo News is guilty of this as well to a lesser extent, but for the most part, it just relies on AP and Reuters Wire articles, which is really all I want out of my Internet news. My big problem with them is their predilection for click-inducing, non-informative headlines. Right now, the top 4 stories on the Yahoo News section of the Yahoo main page are: (1) "Whoopsie: Miss Japan is crowned Miss Universe at the conclusion of a troubled pageant. (Link) What went wrong?" (2) "'Pirates' earns booty: 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End' commandeers a record Memorial Day weekend haul. (Link) How much?" (3) "NFL player drowns: Jet ski accident claims the life of New England Patriot Marquise Hill. (Link) Body recovered." (4) "Two years in Iraq: The story of one Iowa National Guard battalion in Iraq, and their families at home. (Link) Watch '60 Minutes' Video."

Out of those 4 headlines, 3 irritate me. The fourth links to a bunch of "60 Minutes" segments. I am reading Internet news. I don't want to watch "60 Minutes." If I wanted to watch "60 Minutes," I would turn on CBS and watch "60 Minutes," or at least go to CBS.com. The first and second decide to forego actually providing useful information in favor of asking a broad question, to force me to click on the article and view more ads that will appear on that page. It's annoying in its own right, and even more so because of how transparent the marketing ploy is. It's the equivalent of a totally uninformative local news ad that says something like, "Something in your kitchen right now could be slowly killing you...tune in to the news at 11 pm to find out what!" TELL ME WHAT IS KILLING ME (it's probably E. coli spinach again). Or in this case, TELL ME HOW MUCH "PIRATES" EARNED AT THE BOX OFFICE (it's $142.1 million).

The only acceptable headline out of the bunch is the one about Marquise Hill, and I'm honestly surprised it didn't say, "NFL player drowns: Jet ski accident claims the life of a pro football player. (Link) Which one died?" For all you'd know it was Tom Brady, so you'd HAVE to click to be sure it wasn't.

And of course, there's always Fark, but there are just too many totally useless headlines clogging it up to make it worth my time to sort through.

Looks like I'm back to reading every single article on ESPN.com. I know way less about the world generally, but I'm really good in sports bars.

3 comments:

mrsnesbitt said...

I found your blog by accident but found this article interesting! We wake to the 7am news here in North Yorkshire, UK. The diversity of the main stories amazes me...this morning we had something radical about Tony Blair and the story of Gazza the footballer had an ulcer diagnosed on his 40th birthday celebration! My world is such a better place for knowing these facts....yes I am being sarcastic!

Candide said...

Just for you:
http://www.wellingtongrey.net/miscellanea/archive/2007-05-27--the-truth-about-wireless-devices.png

Levintropy said...

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