Trending: WPXI misspelled the name of Pittsburgh’s most poplar sandwich creator. Really? There has been an increasing amount of misspellings slipping into the titles of so-called new stories lately. It’s hard to believe that this is simply a result of careless publishing. Is it a ploy to get people’s attention and more mentions on Twitter? The first reaction of anyone who sees such a tweet from a well-known local news station is to point out the error. Perhaps the local news isn’t as sloppy and unprofessional as they appear, but indeed they may have stumbled upon a new way to infiltrate Facebook timelines and Twitter feeds.
With starting a new year comes the tradition of positive goal-creating toward becoming better. In 2015, Pittsburgh news stations should resolve to:
1. Stop saying everything is trending or breaking
If the story just happened and you’re just reporting about it, doesn’t mean it’s trending. Trending means a lot of people heard about it, are searching for it, and are talking about it in a short amount of time. It doesn’t mean you just posted it, and calling it that won’t magically make your post trend.
2. Stop referring to the weather as being severe all the time
According to the screenshot above, it’s sunny and the temperature is 30 something. We realize this city doesn’t get a lot of sunshine, but why are triggers of fear and worry being forced upon us because of it? What is alerting or severe about the weather being sunny and chilly? Stop playing with our minds and crying wolf! When the weather really is sever we probably won’t listen.
3. Stop redistributing stories from AP
What happened to local reporting? People are tired of regurgitated stories put together by other journalists instead of locals researching and writing them on their own.
4. Stop the click-bait scams
Is using tricky and overly dramatic titles to lure visitors something for a news station to be proud of? Sure, you will get more page views to show your advertising partners, but in the long run you will be pushing your readers away. Most people can see through click-bait a this point, and using this technique while under the guise of a respected name in news reporting is nothing short of a scam.
5. Get rid of the creepy banners on your site
People do not want to see the sickening things you are forcing upon their eyes. They came to your site to discover what’s happening in their city. Information that you’re privileged to learn about before anyone else – and that you have a duty to report. Not about how rubbing berries on our faces will make us appear younger, or 11 things we should never do again after 50. Popular hangover remedies are not news.
Bonus Resolution: Stop using Twitter as a main source of news
Leave social media for the bloggers – the ones who started it. What ever happened to police scanners and news vans? The fights at Monroeville Mall last week were the epitome of Twitter news reporting, and an embarrassment for local stations. Reporters were scurrying on Twitter practically begging high-school students to let them use their photos and videos. Those kids were the real journalists that day.
Other suggestions sent in by Pittsburghers:
- Stop labeling a video as viral if it only has 5K views. –@MichaelWarbux
- Stop using “reality star” and “news” in the same sentence. – @Geeka
- A car hitting a porch in Lawrence County is not breaking news for Metro Pittsburgh. “Breaking News” is overused, period. –@ScottRPriester
Warning to Pittsburgh news junkies:
Do not click those creepy pictures or “You Might Also Like” links on the local news sites. They get ad revenue from those clicks, you’re bound to see disturbing images that will pollute your mind, and you might even catch a virus on your computer – or unwanted tracking cookies at the very least!