Tired of No-Effort Outrage Stories and Upworthy-Type Crap

Skimming headlines / posts on Facebook today, I caught yet another "outrage" story about a startup that was hacked, and OMG the founder was caught waving some cash on a profile picture and how dare he exhibit that kind of behavior in a personal picture when his startup had security vulnerabilities.

A couple of things annoyed me about this post, and I took a while to think about what they are/were.

  • Tying the founder's picture holding cash to the security problem is a bit unfair. Young kid has a chance to hold more cash than he'd probably ever seen before, and gets silly. BFD. I know lots of people who'd do silly things with a pile of cash. That's unrelated to whether or not they'd run their business/do their job with seriousness.
  • The continual barrage of things written to incite outrage is tiring. Yeah, I've written one or two stories in my time because I found something I thought deserved calling out. I didn't pump out story after story like that, though. A steady diet of outrage simply leaves people fatigued and makes it more difficult to muster actual outrage when something truly bad happens.
  • The biggest problem I have, though? It's lazy. Requires little to no effort, and constitutes little to no research. Something happened, blogger went into reactive mode, churned out a post, and… that's it.

Not that this is a new thought or anything, but I am concerned and disappointed in how little actual journalism seems to be taking place today – and how unnoticed it is when it is done. There is still a world out there full of interesting and important stories, but there seems to be very little opportunity for writers to research and write them, and a damn small audience that would appreciate anything longer than 800 words with an Upworthy-type trash headline.

Author: Joe Brockmeier

Joe Brockmeier is a long-time participant in open source projects and former technology journalist. Brockmeier has worked as the openSUSE Community Manager, is an Apache Software Foundation (ASF) member, and participates heavily in the Fedora Cloud Working Group. Brockmeier works for Red Hat in the Open Source and Standards (OSAS) and manages the community team.

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