Seven days ago Sam de Brito wrote an excellent column for the Sun-Herald on the lack of news values in some websites. You can still find it on the smh.com.au website via this link, should you desire.
De Brito posed the question: “When did ‘what was on telly last night’ become news?” He then pointed out the types of “alleged news story” he has problems with. Dr Mumbo couldn’t help but wonder how the smh.com.au would itself fare in the days that followed (and that went before). Let’s have a look…
Dodgy news story 1:
“There’s a new Apple product! This used to be called an ad. A queue of 35-year-old virgins outside a shop is not news; 40,000 people lined up for rice and water is.”
Three days later this appeared:
Dodgy news story 2:
“Anything royal Prince Harry was here for three minutes and was national front page news. Surely page one should be reserved for when he’s found dead of an overdose. Diana’s death was a strong royal story. Wills impregnating Kate Middleton, not so much.”
Today this appeared:
Dodgy news story 3:
“There’s a rumoured new Apple product!! If I’d pitched this at my first editor, he would have choked me with my skinny leather tie before sending me to Alice Springs to search for pieces of Skylab. Hi Col.”
(Actually, Dr Mumbo had to go back two months for this one…)
Dodgy news story 4:
“Someone said something offensive on Twitter Well done, Scoop, you looked at your phone.”
He sure, did Sam. He sure did.
Dodgy news story 5:
“It’s hot/cold/raining No shit? Do we also need a ”live blog” to track how we sizzle/shiver?”
Let’s fire up that live blog straight away.
Dodgy news story 6:
“Maddie McCann Show us DNA proof she’s a happy 10-year-old with Ringling Bros or make an arrest. Until then, not another word about your ”new theory” or ‘suspect’.”
Right you are, Sam.
Dodgy news story 7:
“Anything going ‘viral’ Unless it’s ebola, it’s not news. That said, I think we all enjoyed the KONY-2012-crazy-naked-public-masturbator story arc.
We all did, Sam. And the Doctor Who trailer too…
Dodgy news story 8:
“Anniversaries Today marks five years since lots of Australians died. End of story. Let’s not dress up five pages of grief porn as a ‘tribute’.”
Let’s definitely not do that.
Dodgy news story 9:
“A restaurant closed So the writer can’t get their cheeky brioche bacon and egg roll any more. Do remind us how marginal the restaurant industry is, as opposed to steel production, manufacturing and farming.
Still, shame about North Bondi Italian, wasn’t it?
Dodgy news story 10:
“What your coffee/mobile phone/dog says about you You like coffee and dogs, and dislike pay phones?”
You have been reading your own paper, haven’t you?
Dodgy news story 11:
“Entitled Gen Y can’t find job But they’re actually complaining about not having their dream career. Jobs are what you do for 20 years as you build a career. They tend to suck”
Still, some suck more than others. Imagine having to work for the sort of publisher who’d write that nonsense, eh?