A rant about poor writing.

Journalism is getting really lazy these days. Not that I can boast of being any better myself, because when I was in school I barely broke a sweat on any of my assignments because I just didn’t care. But, when I see professional journalists writing articles and using a celebrity’s twitter feed to make a story… REALLY? I can’t count the number of articles I’ve read in the last 6 months that specfically use Twitter to write a story about a celebrity. It must be nice to not have to leave the comfort of your desk anymore to cover a lead. All you have to do is quote someone’s social networking site and flare it up with your own opinions of what must be going on in their life, and you’ve got yourself a published story.

If I had known that kind of effortless writing was going to be the new thing in 2013, I would have stuck it out in the industry and had a great career where I never had to leave my house or talk on the phone. I hated being a reporter because, as it turns out, I wasn’t much of an extrovert and hated talking to strangers. But these people doing the job are supposed to fit that bill, and now they’re not even doing that. Annoying.

I can’t even read the Yahoo news stories anymore because it always looks like an elementary student wrote them. Who is getting paid to be the editor? I’d like that job. If one of the biggest and oldest online companies can’t even use spellcheck or properly check grammar, then it can’t be that hard to become editor in chief… in which case, what I am doing working for the Coast Guard? Some of the stories they come out with are so painfully out of line with the five elements that make something “news”.

Another thing they’re bad for is filling space by stealing articles that have already been printed days, or even weeks, before. On so many occasions I’ve come across one of their stories and said to myself, “I already read about this.” Like this story, which I heard being discussed last week. Yahoo is just catching up to it now, but they’re not even embarassed about the fact that they’re ripping it off and that they’re unfashionably late doing so. It’s like it’s run by a bunch of inexperienced college students just trying to meet a deadline, no matter how they get the story.

And no wonder they don’t hunt for their own stories. Every time they do you can tell that someone couldn’t think of anything during the morning brainstorm meeting, so they came up with some shitty idea off the cuff and the editor said “OK!” Then it gets published and you can see all the readers commenting on it with my exact sentiments, saying things like, “Why is this even making the news?” They published one a few months back where the “reporter” found a piece of jewelry at Forever 21 that she obviously found offensive, so she wrote a story about it where she deemed it as being so. I couldn’t help but notice that she was Asian, and the piece of jewelry she was writing about was a cartoon geisha. (It might not have been a geisha, but it was an girl dressed in some sort of traditional Oriental costume). The writer found it to be racist and promoting stereotypes. Obviously the readers disagreed with her, chastizing her for creating a problem that wasn’t really there. Harajuku girls are fine when Gwen Stefani advertises them, and everyone laughed when William Hung became famous from American Idol even though he was definitely modeled after Asian stereotypes. Some might even say the same about Psy. But a company makes a piece of jewelry with an Asian cartoon in traditional dress, and now the company is racist? Some people aren’t mean to have soapboxes.

But you see what I mean? This is typical of Yahoo. I see it every day. And it makes you sad to see all these newspapers going out of business. Those who worked hard and met the ideals of what reporting was supposed to be have been the ones who lost their jobs… and the ones getting rich are the ones who haven’t the slightest idea what it’s even about.

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