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Anorak | Jeremy Meeks, Naked Emma Watson, Jasmine Tridevil And The Hoaxing of Lazy Journalism

Jeremy Meeks, Naked Emma Watson, Jasmine Tridevil And The Hoaxing of Lazy Journalism

by | 24th, September 2014

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LUKE O’Neill looks at the state of modern journalism. After the threat to publish nude photos of Emma Watson was a viral marketing hoax by a company called “Rantic” and the Jasmine Tridevil story – she’s the woman who has three beasts that only she has seen in the flesh – O’Neill wonders why so many stories are taken on face value.

This June, a man named Jeremy Meeks bewitched the world. You may know him better by his media-dubbed nickname the Hot Felon. Meeks is attractive enough that his prominent cheekbones and alluring mug-shot stare went viral,  bringing the previously unknown criminal instant fame. Days later, outlets from Gawker and BuzzFeed to The Washington Post, the Daily Mail, New York magazine and others reported he’d landed a $30,000 modeling contract…

 

 

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I called his manager (yes, Meeks now has a manager) to confirm—something no other journalist at that point had bothered to do. There was no $30,000 contract. Modeling agencies had never heard of him…

 

 

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Why do websites of otherwise trustworthy news organizations stoop to such lows? Because journalism’s digital business model, which forces outlets to compete for the same ad space with the most irresponsible websites on the internet, has created a new reality. Journalists, without the time or wherewithal to carry out a bare minimum of investigation under an unprecedentedly short news cycle, are forced to chase viral clicks and the pennies they bring, posting stories engineered toward “virality” to court their new social-media kingmakers. Once, credibility was the linchpin of journalism. Today, as dubiously sourced stories multiply, it’s an afterthought.

 

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“Companies focus on page views because they’re quantifiable,” says Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On. “So journalists optimize for share numbers, and audiences share juicy headlines without reading the story.”

The consequences—a generation of journalists lacking ethics training, a public that accepts lower standards and a gaping hole in the media’s organizational practices that the unscrupulous exploit—are as far-reaching for the industry’s role in society as they are for the business of news itself.

Read it in full here.



Posted: 24th, September 2014 | In: News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink