Books | Internet

June 27, 2007

Farking up the Media

Drew Curtis, the man behind weird-news site, tells Gelf how the media has devolved into crap.

David Goldenberg

What happens when you scan through up to 2,000 ridiculous articles a day for eight straight years? You start to notice trends. Like that Floridians tend to do really stupid things. And that people can't seem to read enough stories about men having sex with horses. Mainly, though, you begin to realize that the media has lost its grip on what constitutes actual news, and is devolving into a forum for fearmongerers, nutjobs, stupid celebrities, and brazen advertisers.

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- Internet
- posted on Jun 28, 07
some guy

Using Alexa as a data source for traffic is highly unreliable, especially in the case of Fark. I believe Drew was recently quoted as saying 60% of his traffic uses Firefox now. (I realize this doesn't reflect overall browser market share, but it gets played up a lot in the forums, and there are several useful extensions specifically for Fark). Also, most spyware removal tools remove Alexa.

Look at the charts for and, you'll see a similar effect. Fewer people are using Alexa.

- Internet
- posted on Aug 21, 07

2 data points:

1. Just from unscientific observation of my MyYahoo page, Yahoo's "Most Viewed Stories" overlap about 50% in substance (not exact articles) with "Reuters Top Stories," including Afghanistan and Iraq. I have no idea how those two lists are compiled, but I think you can say the most-popular lists are only half-crap. The most viewed photos, however, are 100% crap (gross, celebrity, animals, extreme weather, ad nauseum).

2. CNN is already split up into CNN and CNN-Europe (or whatever it's called over there).

PS: I love Fark, especially the photoshopping contests, but I can't read it often because it does suck me in and make me waste additional time. Glad to see the "insider" knowledge about Mass Media being distilled from your experience there. Also, I just discovered Gelf and have been wasting additional time here.

PPS: thinking some more about the issue of how people consume news and the motivations behind those who serve it up, the distinction is not between "all-inclusive (per newspaper)" and "a la carte (per story)" (in the CSM article) but between paid-for (per newspaper) and free (per story on the internet)--knowing full well that papers are advertising-sponsored. Until we have a model where I can pay 25 cents per article--and expect to receive quality journalism in return, articles will continue to be worth less than the advertising. In a way, that's what the Economist is doing, if I had the time to read their magazine, I would subscribe.

Article by David Goldenberg

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