The Issues with Online Journalism

The best way to give is to write. Writing has given us so much throughout history, from documentation and political insight, to epic tales of love and tragedy. Writing is the most powerful form of communication. I started journalism in order to perfect this craft that I admire so much. Obviously I get frustrated with all of the online news sites that don’t show the slightest sliver of respect for the art of writing, their audience members or even themselves. These websites represent so much of what writing isn’t supposed to be, and have disgraced the standard that formidable journalism productions uphold.

The lack of dignity is the root cause for most online news source’s flaws. They are so desperate to have you read their articles that they resort to sensationalizing their headlines, while providing absolutely no insight into what the article is actually about. A respectable news source uses its headline to provide an overlaying insight regarding the news story, hopefully intriguing the reader enough to continue reading. Contemporary virtual media resorts to attracting viewers the same way a melodramatic 10-year-old tries to win an online argument: by screaming in all-caps about the importance of what they’re saying without actually saying or proving anything.

Then there are the useless self-assessment quizzes, personality tests and other pointless time wasters that websites such as Buzzfeed seem to specialize in. Now, these articles are harmless and cater to a mostly young adult, teenage audience that seeks the ridiculous quirkiness of discovering the color of your “aura,” which would be fine if the writers actually put even a drop of effort into their nonsense. Has anyone ever taken one of those stupid assessments and gained any valuable insight concerning themselves? No. These worthless self-examinations have the lasting significance of a joke found on a Laffy-Taffy wrapper.

Even some political news sites only indulge their audience in what they want to hear, too scared to deliver any opinion or news that might upset their readers. Now I know that what I’ve listed has always been a problem with journalism: there have always been newspapers that are written only for cheap entertainment, that take the easy way out in how they write and only write for those with a certain viewpoint.

However, for the first time in history, we have been given the ability to access thousands of journalism articles, columns and ideas. In the past, the only newspapers people could read were the ones their towns could subscribe to and what their families permitted, regardless of how well-written they were. Now we can access a plethora of knowledge and ideas, yet the articles we end up sharing are the trivial products of lazy, unmotivated writing comparable to the backhand work of a melodramatic, hormonal middle schooler.

Journalism is about informing people about what they need to hear, not what they want to. The majority of today’s online publications seem focused on taking the time and attention of their readers to garner more page views, instead of actually respecting themselves and putting in the work to provide whoever comes across their writing something compelling to think about. We’re a product of our environment; please don’t surround yourself in meaningless padding. The writing capable of breaking a person’s preconceptions and offering life-changing insight will always be available for those who look for it.