2017 has changed my perspective of journalism completely. I started the year reading The Independent, The Guardian, Huffington Post, and more; nowadays I just read GQ magazine. From spammy posts to hypocrisy, here are the biggest offences of journalists in 2017.
Journalists continuously commit the same offences they criticise silicon valley companies of doing.
The YouTube scandal occurred due to adverts being shown on inappropriate videos, such as footage of terror attacks or racially charged videos. Journalists cried out about this issue, blowing it way out of proportion and actually causing many advertisers to back out of using YouTube as a result.
Yet, journalists will always monetise an article regardless of the content or footage. Terror attacks, natural disasters, distressing imagery; simply slap a disclaimer on the front and turn that ad-revenue on. Even the footage of Tamir Rice’s shooting is monetised on every major news website I went onto.
Hypocrisy at its finest, and has never been addressed.
I can only speak of UK newspapers, but I’ve often seen articles from The Independent that will flip stories to create a sense of islamophobia where there is none. One such example includes a tragic car accident that occurred at a Newcastle mosque, where 6 people were injured.
The Independent initially titled the headline “Video shows moments after vehicle ploughed into Muslims celebrating Eid in Newcastle” and mentioning that the driver was arrested, creating the illusion it was an islamophobic attack. Police later released a statement that it was simply a car accident, and was never considered a terror attack.
The video is fully monetised with adverts, so The Independent are still profiting off the pain and suffering of six individuals (three of which included children) thanks to their use of misleading information.
Lack Of Research
Whenever there’s an article about technology, data and advertising, I tend to have a good amount of knowledge thanks to working in online marketing. When Facebook came under fire for allowing you to target racist groups using their advertising platform, I was confused.
Firstly, why would someone even bother targeting these groups. Secondly, any racially charged adverts would be instantly taken down even if you did attempt to promote them. I once had an advert put in review for using the word “Christmas” in a question, for example.
The massive backlash and hysteria surrounding the Facebook scandal was absurd, largely ignoring Facebook’s advertising policies.
Talking of research, I read an article from The Guardian stating that Facebook was planning on a new section for the website (similar to Twitter’s) where articles and page posts would be. The article also suggested that it would kill off many publishers and independent journalists by reducing the amount of people each article is seen by.
Interesting, it’s almost like Facebook have noticed an issue with spam on their platform, and are trying to create a way of reducing it. Could it be because publishers such as The Guardian post an article every 20 minutes onto Facebook? Approximately 72 per day, or 2,196 per month (assuming they keep it up day and night).
It doesn’t take a genius to realise why Facebook are having to create a solution.
All of the above result in journalism becoming more and more detrimental to itself. Buzzfeed and TMZ styled articles have become industry standard, and any serious news is often deformed in an attempt to maximise shock factor.
Sometimes, journalists are so excited about covering an issue they never question how it’s covered. The YouTube and Facebook advertising scandals were covered so extensively, yet somehow all these websites forgot that they also make revenue through the same advertisers. Therefore, when advertisers pulled out of YouTube, they also pulled out of journalistic websites too.
They lost revenue, and it’s apparent when you look at the bottom of The Guardian’s articles which all beg for donations due to “advertising revenues across the media are falling fast”. Written more tastefully, and this would never have been an issue.