In their efforts to report the sad yet important-to-know news from Monday’s tragedy, various online media providers revealed some weaknesses worth addressing over the near term.
[Caveat: This post is not meant to directly address, nor make light of, the Boston Marathon bombing and the ongoing investigation. Rather, our focus is on media, one of the most important components of Marketing.]
Way back when, we heralded 2010 as “The Year of the Commenter.” True to form, comments became a more formal part of media, with service providers such as Disqus upping their commenting tools capabilities, and publishers taking advantage of them. Another key form of user-generated content gained significant traction.
Yet, we wonder, should online media leave comments open for all stories, all the time? Within minutes of the first reports of Monday’s bombing, comment fields on “mainstream” sites like CNN and Huffington Post were burgeoning with vitriol – anti-everything: Obama, Tea Party, Muslim, IRS, Liberals, gun control, you name it.
It attracted the worst of the worst of the great unwashed, uneducated, and unedited. There is absolutely nothing positive that can come from this sort of expression and “sharing.” Yes, there is a First Amendment – media owners should feel free to shut down comments under such situations as Monday’s, and advise people to start their own blogs if they think they have something others should hear.
Videos – Not The News, But The Ads
Want to see video of what happened? Please wait 30 seconds, while we show you an online video commercial, aka a “pre-roll,” of a family happily bouncing along the countryside in a new SUV ! Or perhaps a housewife happily whipping up some dinner for her happy family with some nifty new food product!
OK, now that we've put you in the right mood, please enjoy this tragic news video...
How is it, in the supposed era of “real-time advertising” and “Big Data,” that no one has come up with an algorithm that stops online video ads from running during times like these? It should take roughly one second to accomplish. Shameful.
Quantity, Not Quality
You could jump on any old Tweet to see that, allegedly according to The New York Post, a dozen people were killed and hundreds wounded. Then retweet it – as fast as you can.
Compare it to the in-depth, quality reporting that The New York Times has published (paper and online). It even took down its paywall.
When, in reality, it should be charging double.