• User-generated crap

scribeSo there I was, reading the major local daily newspaper when I noticed a line under a particularly fluffy story and poor quality photo: “Story provided to the XXXXXXX.”

“Story provided” is, heaven help us, news-speak for a particularly insidious development in the shaky world of newspapering. That is, cutting staff to save money, then replacing the stories they used to write with self-promoting free material sent in by local organizations or individuals.

I remember when that idea was floated a decade ago when I still was a newspaper editor. Virtually everyone in the room except the business-side non-journalist who supported it held our noses and promised never to let such a thing happen. We wanted to stick to quality, professional journalism as a way of serving the community and maintaining a solid business model.

So much for that promise. Let’s be honest about it. The true definition of “user-generated” is “quality-deprived.”

By the way, if you want to catch up on the manic things that have been going on in the journalism world (unfortunately, they’re predominantly negative), you can visit a Topix.com section I edit on a regular basis. Just go here.


About Bill Dowd

Webmaster/social media coordinator for the Southern Rensselaer County NY Rotary Club.

One response to “• User-generated crap”

  1. SharseResee says :


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