Trying to find quality content on the internet in 2016 is like trying to find a needle in a pile of needles. Sure, you can just jump right in and hope for the best but chances are you’ll end up wading through pricks. Nowhere is this shitstorm of misinformation that more prevalent than news websites.
But, the fact that we get our news online now – and not in print – offers opportunities we didn’t have years ago. Opportunities we often overlook due us being entitled simpletons. The common advantages of online news are well documented; cost efficient, time efficient, not having to navigate the outside world efficient, etc, but in recent years we’ve seen even further advancements.
Think back to how you got your news when you were a kid. Maybe you enjoyed video games so you picked up a copy of GamesMaster every month. Or maybe you were enthusiastic about caravans, or golf, or wind tunnels – chances are there was a magazine or news outlet catering to your specific yet questionable tastes.
All news which came through these magazines had been filtered by a journalist. They might have even discarded something they deemed to be unimportant because they didn’t think enough people cared about it - or one of the many other million other reasons to not publish something. Those problems have gone away forever thanks to Twitter.
Do you remember the Royal Wedding? If so, do you know which journalist first broke the news to the world of that happy event? Prince William’s dad. If you don’t remember the Royal Wedding, or simply didn’t care - do you remember when the world’s number one terrorist was shot in the head? Well, turns out that Osama Bin Laden’s death-raid was live-tweeted to the world, a whole nine hours before news of his death broke on mainstream media.
This is the future. Journalists are now assuming the role of a YouTube nobody in a pointless reaction video. We have no need for them if the news comes straight from the people who create it.
When Someone Takes Satire Seriously
Satire is one of the most powerful tools on the internet. So powerful, in fact, that we’ve had to
Satire is one of the few weapons the intellectuals still have in their arsenal. Rational arguments and showing evidence of your claims isn’t going to cut it in 2016, not when most internet users have the attention span of a Snapchat tit-shot. Satire can change opinions. It’s a joke within a joke; a small laugh addressing a laughable topic. And the best part about it? People have been known to take it seriously.
There’s nothing funnier than seeing someone become outraged at the idea of Donald Trump hiring himself as his own apprentice, or George Lucas selling the Star Wars rights to Brazzers. But some readers can’t distinguish between real and surreal. They think that if it looks like news and reads like news, then it must be news. Think again. I live in hope that one day all news will be satire. No one will know what’s going on but no one will care because the news finally got interesting. Game on.
The day comments were introduced to newspaper stories changed everything. Here in the UK we have a notoriously racist, hypocritical, pointless newspaper called The Daily Mail. All its in-print news stories are posted online, which obviously attract a plethora of commenters. I personally use these comment sections as a barometer of how stupid my country is at any given time. If 4 out of 10 people really believe that Vince Neil and Nicolas Cage were fighting, not just drunkenly falling over, then I conclude the UK to be 40% stupid, and so forth.
Interactivity is essential for online news. Comments on any news articles are invaluable for a number of reasons. They can point out errors or bring up overlooked points or straight up tell everyone how much they won’t be watching the new Ghostbusters movie. This, in turn, forces news to be more precise in what they’re reporting. Years ago, a newspaper journalist didn’t need to worry if their readers thought they were dicks because they had no way if informing them. But now, their articles can become entire forums telling them how much their writing, research and structure sucks the big one.
Going back to my wind tunnel publication analogy; relevant news often needs to be cut from newspapers because there is only a finite amount of information able to be packed in. You’ve got thirty pages worth of news and that’s all you’re getting. But with the internet, news is limitless, and not only is it limitless but we can also find exactly what we want, when we want it.
A huge news publication in the UK called the Sun has what we call Page 3, and it’s easily the best thing about that newspaper. It is one page, one picture, and that’s it. But if you’ve spent more than twenty minutes on the internet, you’ll know that there’s no limit to Page 3’s around here.