Saturday, July 18, 2009

Headline Questions - a cheap journalist ploy.

It would appear that we have become a society of questions.

Russia: Which way with the WTO?

Is Instant-On Chrome OS's Killer App?

QOTD: Are You Going 32 or 64-bit for Windows 7?

Israel: Does Violence Pay?

Chrome OS to Bring More Linux IT Jobs?

Azerbaijan: Overzealous minions?

Microsoft Window 7: Is New OS The Beginning Of XP's End?

Journalism or what passes for it these days is little more than reiteration of sound bytes and cut&paste press releases. What seems to be the objective is to entice the reader into rereading the pablum. To this end authors or more probably editors try to shift the responsibility from the writers to the readers.

I have written before that when I am asked a question the onus of the responsibility shifts from the asker to the askee. I have become increasingly uncomfortable with this shift. I find myself in the onerous position of either ignoring the question - and as such becoming the "Bad Guy". All too often the plaintive whimper issues forth, "I was only asking a question."

Or, should I pay attention to the question, I am faced with the ever present threats of dealing with a rhetorical question or even worse an inane (go-google-your-own-answer-question). The worst by far is the "I can ask you a question to remind you that I have the power to ask such questions." In all three cases I must accept the onus of responsibility (and do the work) of answering counter-productive questions.

For supposed journalists to rely on such a questionable practice speaks to their lack of initiative. The News should be reported as statements of fact - as best be determined by diligent research. Editorial content should be equally reported with straight forward declaration instead of whining attempts to garner interest or agreement.

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