The Cincinnati Enquirer's website has undergone some radical changes over the past year or two, something that was covered in Wired magazine a little while ago.
They've combined all their local newspapers (formerly the various community papers including the Princeton-area Tri-County Press) into the one website, no longer offering up individual homepages for each. And they've - more noteworthy - also encouraging a lot of what they call citizen journalism which seems to end up being a whole lot of people doing stupid and mostly non-newsworthy self promotion and a lot of very poorly-written local interest articles.
Seriously, look at this piece of crap. There are nothing but short sentences, not a single combination into an actual paragraph. It's like something written by a middle schooler.
The lack of actual reportage - and any sort of consideration for what is worth reporting and what isn't - isn't, however, my beef for tonight. That'll be for another time as we consider the dichotomy between what people want to see/read/hear and what they need to be told. Instead, my complaints for today lie entirely with their increased offerings of comments on every news story.
Take, for example, the comments recently left on a story about the Lakota contract talks:
When are teachers going to realize the make good money? Hey, I haven't had even a cost of living increase in over FIVE years! Do you hear my complaining? No, I understand it's tough out there right now. These teachers who are already making a LOT more than I ever will are never happy. Look, if you don't like being a teacher find another career! But you will quickly find that there isn't much out there which you will make more money. Yes, times are tough....grow up and deal with it like the rest of us. Or does it just kill you to drive home in your big SUV, pull into your huge garage, and then take the family out to eat? Yea, I bet. Spoiled teachers.....sheesh!We have a craptacular initial comment, one designed to set a tone of only the lowest level of discourse. It's an ignorant rant, practically designed to pick a fight. And it's dumb.
Be sure to have a full knowledge base of any situation before you rattle off a half-brained response. Don't assume the media has all of the information you need to be fully aware.
This sounds like sour grapes to me! I was curious do you have your masters degree? If not... Why don't you go back to school and get your master's degree so you can have a big SUV, huge garage, and go out to eat every night. Please do some more research before you make comments like the one you spewed out above.
The Enquirer has added the opportunity for people to have intelligent discourse replying to any of the topics that the site covers, but they haven't set anything in place to prevent this kind of asinine, lowest-common-denominator commentary - which is what I find most common to the comment section. And then we get two people saying "oh, you should be more open-minded" when they should really be ignoring the moron and just letting him scream into the ether without response.
See, it's way easier to smack on people if you don't have to see them face to face.
Newspapers - and by extension news websites - should not be for the reporting of every mundane detail of the world nor as forums for every opinion to be bandied about without concern for the factual basis of that opinion.
As much as I want everyone to be free to report and to inform each other - it's important for our freedoms that we have some outlets - I also want there to be some sort of established news entity that can provide a researched, resourced, filtering of what is happening in my world, and a bulletin board service with commentary is not that entity.
Randall had it right.