Is this what online news has come to?

I know I’m not really saying anything new here, but every now and then when I look at Techmeme it fills me with despair. Well, maybe not despair exactly — but a definite sinking feeling. It’s bad enough when Apple news takes over the entire page of Techmeme headlines, but at least that occasionally involves something worth writing about, and some differing opinions. Then you have days like today, with the announcement by Research In Motion of the new BlackBerry Flip, formerly known as the Kickstart (way better name, by the way). Here’s a screenshot:

So what do we have here? A press release by RIM leading off — which I’m totally fine with, by the way — and then almost 20 sub-links from blogs and tech sites. At first I thought the problem was just a lack of smart or snappy headlines, since each one sounds exactly like the next (with a couple of exceptions). But then I went and read every single post and story, and guess what? They are almost exactly the same. Hey, RIM has introduced the Flip! Here are some pics! Here’s the press release! The end. Again, there are a few exceptions — Kevin Restivo tried to insert a bit of analysis, as did Wired and a couple of others. But the rest, nada. What exactly is the purpose of this? To grab as many cheap pageviews as possible? I know some of this stuff has to be done, like sports scores or the weather or whatever, but still. It’s sad.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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