- This important process is done by the editor by canvassing the area and sources for news stories. This is also known as playing “Solitaire.”
- Once that process is completed by getting bored, the editor figures out that the best way to pretend to do one’s job is to write a completely useless, time-wasting article and passing it off as an important news story.
The writing devices used to accomplish this are invariable and, as a service to the community, we’ve piled up the usual suspects so that the next time you run into one of these aberrations, you can properly ignore it and/or post it in your Facebook wall.
So, without further ado, here are The Top 10 News Stories That Actually Are Not News Stories:
- 1. Articles that tell you there’s a new study that shows you the food you’ve been eating all your life will kill you. Bonus points go to television programs that have ads earlier in the day saying something like “there’s something in your fridge that might endanger your life right now. Details at 10 p.m.” These articles are usually rewrites of other’s people studies in which the conclusion shows that eggs are bad. You are doomed.
- 2. Articles that tell you that a new study shows that the last study was wrong. Eggs are good again. They’ll be bad next month.
- 3. Anything with cute kittens or babies or sexy ladies. Serious news organization know that cats, babies and sexy ladies are important news beats that can’t be ignored. Although media have yet to figure out how to create sections devoted to sexy ladies shooting guns while holding babies and kittens, there has been much progress. The New York Times, for instance, has a science section online completely devoted to cats. That’s right, all the news that’s fit to purr.
- 4. Trend stories. News organizations like to keep up with the times, which is why they’re always on the lookout for what people are doing, like popular activities such as not reading newspapers. This is why media companies keep up with the pulse of their communities by writing important stories about disturbing activities like teenagers hugging, people falling asleep on the subway and people wanting lots of Christmas presents. All these examples, we should note, actually have been investigated by the New York Times.
- 5. Investigations that are not investigations. News budgets are tight, and organizations lucky enough to have investigative teams have to carefully choose the subjects they cover. This is why an NBC affiliate in Rhode Island prioritized their investigations to cover what really matters. Here’s a real quote: “there’s a new drinking game that’s raising eyebrows with law enforcement. NBC 10’s I-Team hidden camera revealed a potentially dangerous drinking game called beer pong.” Welcome to the 1960s.
- 6. Articles based on the current popular movie or television shows. Riding the popularity of a movie and writing an article about a topic is the parasite of news stories. However, there are times when this is necessary. For instance, on a recent Fox Business channel segment, under the banner, “Are Liberals Trying To Brainwash Your Kids Against Capitalism?” the host and guest discussed the dangers posed to America by the socialist movie “The Muppets.”
- 7. Articles about anything being the cool new thing. This is worse when the new thing is not new. A Google search shows that there are currently 3,040 new news articles about “Angry Birds,” the popular breakout game sensation. Of 2009. Unfortunately, companies know that you only have to put a “2.0” next to your old product and it becomes new.
- 8. Anniversary stories. These stories usually contain a variation of this sentence, “Where were you when (insert news story) happened?” As years go by, the sentence turns into, ““Where were you when the 50th anniversary of (insert news story) happened?”
- 9. Reaction stories. These news stories will inform you that people have feelings about things that happen. The worse part is that we’re total suckers for “how do you feel” stories, unless that question is asked of a guy who just got run over by a car.
- 10. Listicles. Any article that contains “The Top 10” of anything is pure garba...oh, shucks!