If I were paid per page view, I would wake up in the morning and write a headline like the one above.
The piece is about how online journalists are on deadline around the clock and judged by the amount of page views their pieces get. Here’s a passage:
…they try to eke out a fresh thought or be first to report even the smallest nugget of news — anything that will impress Google algorithms and draw readers their way.
Tracking how many people view articles, and then rewarding — or shaming — writers based on those results has become increasingly common in old and new media newsrooms. The Christian Science Monitor now sends a daily e-mail message to its staff that lists the number of page views for each article on the paper’s Web site that day.
The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times all display a “most viewed” list on their home pages. Some media outlets, including Bloomberg News and Gawker Media, now pay writers based in part on how many readers click on their articles.
To me this story is less about recent-grads being overworked than what a focus on page views and writing for search engines means for media as a whole.
I’m somewhat okay with Gawker having a big board in their office that tracks the most viewed posts and who wrote them; the world turns to them for gossip. But the fact that the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, and other papers are doing so is really sick. No wonder we don’t hear about people suffering from the financial crisis around the world or the political situation in Kyrgyzstan.
Performance is no longer based on depth and importance, but popular appeal.
In a few years from now maybe I could be the world’s most viewed journalist. Each morning I’ll hit my keyboard first thing and see what’s trending on Twitter and Google and write a post combining as many of the topics as possible.
It would go something like this.
Trending on TWITTER as of 2:54 PM:
1)Cissa Guimares is a Brazilian actress not afraid to show her boobs.
2)Bruna Surfistinha is a former prostitute who blogged about her tricks that likes to show her boobs.
3)Lindsey Lohan used to be an actress now she just shows parts of her boobs and is in prison.
4)Teflon Don is an album by Rick Ross, apparently about bitches:
She came to party like it’s 1999
If she died on my d!@k
She would live through my rhymes
Trending on Google as of 2:54 PM:
1)Defarra Gaymon (actual news) was shot by an undercover cop in NJ.
2)Shirley Sherrod (more actual news!) resigned from USDA after admitting to limiting assistance given to a white farmer because of his race. (editd: oops! The media screwed this one up. She’s back and has received an apology from the President. Imagine that, the media screwed up reporting something.)
3)Colt McCoy is a football player who just got married and a song about his rival Tim Tebow was sung at his wedding.
4)The Switch is a movie in which an actress famous for her boobs gets pregnant with a turkey baster.
5)The Donner Party wasn’t much of a party, unless you like eating humans.
So that’s it. If you want to rake in the page views to protect your job, pay off school loans, or feed the kids you should write this:
Chicks show boobs at Donner Party
At the late night Donner Party following Colt McCoy’s wedding, Cissa Guimares, Bruna Surfistinha, and Lindsey Lohan showed their boobs while dancing to Rick Ross’s new album Teflon Don. Defarra Gaymon and Shirley Sherrod were not in attendance, but they’ll only be trending for the next day or two so they weren’t invited. Word on the street is that Sherrod, in fact, has boobs, but partygoers would rather be eaten than look at them or waterboarded with a turkey baster.
At this rate in a few years we’ll all be bigger asses than…well…than Bruna Surfistinha’s…