Over the course of the last week I’ve been publishing a series of posts where I point out a number of media conventions and tendencies I’d like to see come to an end.
These mostly involve being more specific, cutting out unnecessary labels and offering a bigger picture look at the issues being shared. I’m rounding up all those posts here for easy reference and will add anything further I publish going forward.
Add More Context: Some recent stories offer examples of cases of where tieing *this* story into what else is known would create much more value for the reader, cut down the hyperbole or strengthen the point being made.
Only Use Demographic Labels When Pertinent: I don’t need to reiterate here how ridiculous the whole “Millennials Are Killing [industry/company/category]” press narrative is. The stories that have become a laughing stock seem to be predicated on two assumptions.
Stop Saying “Tweet”: In the early days of social media it was common to dismiss what someone posted to Twitter or Facebook as being somewhat…less than. These comments were easily waved aside as the kind of off-hand brain droppings that weren’t necessarily worthy of much attention. I’ll admit I’m as guilty of this as many professional journalists and others.
Abandon the David vs Goliath Narrative: The problem with this framing is that it turns the named company into the gold standard, assigning some amount of infallibility and prestige that has more in common with an op-ed than news reporting.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.