Open your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Stay for ten minutes watching the newsfeed as it goes by. What do you see? Aren’t you tired of reading the same things everywhere? Don’t you have the impulse of unfollowing most of the pages you like and half of your friends? I must confess that I’m tempted everyday.
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about inspiration and the need for fresh ideas. This need applies not only to bloggers but also to any online publication.
We all know journalism is in crisis. In fact, it has been in crisis for decades, but now, new models imposed by the internet have increased the divide. Few people keeps on reading print editions, and they are getting older. Soon enough, nobody will buy newspapers — the way we used to know them — anymore.
While some media have adopted the online formats (some, have even stopped publishing in print), some others still whine and seem to be out of their natural habitat when you see their posts online. In other cases, what we find is even worse, as copying others contents is in vogue.
This copy-pasting of news everywhere might be caused by globalization; There are less news agencies, so every newspaper around the world buys the same news written by the same journalists everywhere. More than that, some newspapers get inspiration on the internet; so they get news out of Twitter trends, memes or whatever, just to bring on more hits to their sites.
The old motto ‘who hits first, hits twice’ is no longer true, as the success of an article will depend on the abilities of your community managers and on the number of followers you have, not on the quality of the article itself. It seems, again, that they haven’t understood the “new” scenario, which it’s been a while since it’s not that new anymore.
As an example, we can find viral videos, like this one of a girl dancing to Aretha Franklin’s R.E.S.P.E.C.T. at a recital. Uploaded to Facebook by her mother, it has more than 1M shares on that social network, and it has been reproduced on many newspapers globally.
Personally, I don’t think the video is funny at all, which makes me wonder why it has been this successful.
But wait, there’s more!
How about that super cool photographer who “follows” his girlfriend around the world? Oh, you haven’t heard of him? No way! He is as famous as Superman! No? Really?
In this case, the pictures are great and his portfolio is very original, and the girl is cute. So what do the media do when they have no other things to talk about? They just copy and paste some\thing they read somewhere else, post it on their site with his pics, and voila, you have some amazingly original articles consisting of pictures by this guy and some copy to highlight how romantic they are.
The first time I saw the pictures, I must admit that I clicked on the link. They are truly impressive, and its originality probably deserves something more than just likes on Instagram, that’s for sure. But is the above necessary?
The last example I’m bringing up is this fantastic Bored Panda collection of LGTB wedding pictures. They started with 15 pictures but have increased the collection because in this blog any reader can upload their own pictures to a post, so as of today, there are more than 100 wonderful wedding pictures.
Not even two hours after I saw this article in my timeline, I saw the same one, on El Huffington Post. They hadn’t even changed the cover picture!
But, of course, it’s the internet’s fault. The journalism crisis came about because, naturally, people shouldn’t be able to speak other languages or read media from any country in the world in seconds (just as journalists sitting at their newsrooms do). It’s not fair! So let’s blame whoever, even readers, for doing what the media want them to do, what they are supposed to do, which is read and be informed.
All the examples were taken from news appeared on my Facebook timeline on 12th June.