Home > Journalism > Wanted: Journalist Who Can Write, Editor Who Can Add Good Headlines

Wanted: Journalist Who Can Write, Editor Who Can Add Good Headlines

February 19th, 2013

I have to say, I am really getting tired of the quality of “news” and other “informative” content on the web. I know that this is the Internet, but when major sites regularly have headlines that just scream “I’m too lazy to work on it,” or “I want to jazz this up by saying something patently false,” it gets kind of pathetic. When you read an article and the reasoning is something I would give a “D” grade for in a freshman college writing class, it makes you wonder what kind of quality control these “major” sites have.

Two examples today. The first is from SlashGear. The headline: Microsoft secretly increases the price of Mac Office.

Um, how do you “secretly” change an open retail price? The support within the article: “not a lot of people noticed.” </facepalm>

The second is more involved, and comes from a much bigger fish: CNN. The headline: How Samsung is out-innovating Apple. CNN’s “Business Insider” writer claims that after copying the crap out of Apple’s mobile devices, Samsung is “now leapfrogging it with bunch of useful features you can’t find on iPhones and iPads.” And yes, they left out the article before the word “bunch.” That’s another thing, proofreading seems to be a bit of a lost art. I make mistakes now and then, but I’m a part-time blogger with a day job.

The article then promises to lay out how “The evidence is everywhere, but it’s most apparent in products made by Apple’s biggest mobile rival, Samsung.” OK, let’s see the devastating evidence.

First: they have a huge marketing budget. Um. “…but you can’t ignore the fact that the company has innovated a lot by creating popular new product categories that Apple is wary to try.” Start off an article with a huge piece of evidence that Samsung is successful for other reasons than innovation? OK, it’s a contrast, but it means that the writer has to have even stronger evidence following.

Second: Samsung had an unexpected hit with a larger, thicker form factor with a stylus.

This is innovative? Make things larger? Add something that’s been around forever? These are not innovative. The iPad was not innovative because of its size, it was innovative because it redefined what a tablet was, nailing the look and feel but more so the natural usability for such a device. Somehow I don’t think millions of people were so impressed by a big, thick design or an almost retro stylus. iPads don’t come with a stylus, but you can get one. Maybe they were drawn in by a big screen, but that’s not innovative unless there’s a new purpose behind it.

The writer’s take: “Samsung created a new category of smartphone that people didn’t even know they wanted, much like Apple did when it released the first iPhone.”

Not evidenced—and if so, why? Could it possibly have something to do with pricing, marketing, and niche?

Third: Samsung “tout[s] its cool factor,” making fun of Apple fanboys. This is innovation? No, that’s marketing. It supports the point contrary to the thesis. And the article makes no mention of how Samsung products, thick and stylus-wielding, are “cool.”

Fourth, the article offers what may be the only “innovation” in the entire article: “the ability to run two apps at once in a split screen or separate window.” But then the article points out that this is only available for a handful of apps… failing to show how this allows them to “leapfrog Apple” and sell millions of units.

Fifth: software updates from Android. Yes, that’s very innovative of Samsung.

Sixth: Samsung “takes user and reviewer feedback into account when preparing to deliver new software updates.” Focus groups! Focus groups are innovative! Not. That’s the opposite of innovative, you idjit. It’s how you get results like “bring back the stylus” and “make things bigger.”

Last: Microsoft has advantages over Apple with Windows 8. Wait, how does this have anything to do with Samsung?

Then the writer sums up: “Based on all this evidence, Apple feels behind.”

Really? Based on the fact that Samsung has a big marketing budget, sells tablets with thick form factors, big screens and styluses, touts its “cool factor” in ads, has an extremely limited split-screen function, uses focus groups, and runs software from Android and Microsoft… that’s how Apple falls behind?

The writer then explains:

Take a look at its newest fourth-generation iPad. It has a killer processor and other great hardware features, but the operating system doesn’t take advantage of any of that. The home screen is still just a grid of static icons that launch apps.

Double-facepalm. Yes, it’s all about leveraging the speed of the device to make the operating system perform new tricks. Not about what software it can run and how it performs. Got it. Grid of icons are boring, yes, unless you realize that the icons are apps and you can open them and do more interesting things. Are you kidding me?

Apple also isn’t nearly as versatile at adding new software features to its devices. Apple usually makes users wait a year or more for a new version of iOS, and even then some older devices can’t access all the latest and greatest features.

Um, not that must faster, and the updates are slower than iOS to reach hardware. And, I am not certain on this—do all of Android’s and Microsoft’s most recent OS versions run on all past devices? If so, great—but again, not innovative.

Long story short: when will “journalists” learn to write again? I’d love to see that.

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  1. Troy
    February 19th, 2013 at 11:56 | #1

    Some of Samsung’s marketing budget paid for that article it looks like. . .

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