Is ‘Journalism’ Bottoming Out?

“My own headline, up above, wouldn’t pass muster with the Sacramento Bee. It should’ve been something like “Nude Journalists Caught Performing Human Sacrifice.” And watch the clicks come rolling in.”

(Lee Duigon – News With Views)  When I was a teenager, we used to get a lot of good belly-laughs out of crazy tabloid headlines. “Bigfoot Kept Lumberjack as Love Slave!” “Mad Dentist Rips Out Patient’s Tongue.” And “Girl Too Ugly to Go to School,” complete with clumsy composite photo that wouldn’t fool a five-year-old. These guys were writing click bait before clicks were invented.

Now it’s over fifty years later: and the new CEO of the Sacramento Bee has a plan to tie his reporters’ pay to the number of clicks their stories get. And those reporters are horrified.

The Sacramento Bee News Guild says the new policy “encourages controversy and quantity over clarity and quality,” to say nothing of accuracy. It will tempt writers to create “click bait,” and “It cheapens our work.” You don’t say?  View article →


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