equal footing on yahoo news

It may sound as if I’m picking on Yahoo but I’m only using it to illustrate a trend in news reporting and aggregating. Since I started using Yahoo email (recently) I’ve found the juxtapositions on the home page startling.

screenshot of headlines on Yahoo News August 23, 2013

We live in a world where news of wildly differing degrees of importance is presented on equal footing. Do I want to read about a “wacky hairdo” or the plight of a Syrian refugee? Developing details of the apparent murder of a WWII veteran or the first public appearance of North West? It’s fine with me if people want to read entertainment news and other “fluffy” fare. I’ll come right out and admit I’m obsessed with Kate Middleton, but it bothers me that a beautiful picture of a duchess and her family shows up above a picture of a young man receiving oxygen after a chemical weapon attack.

Maybe this is pandering: news services want to offer what people want to read. And I can definitely see the possibility that if the serious stuff were relegated to a “serious place” there’s a chance fewer people would read it. Mixing it in with things that are fun to read may actually allow it to reach a wider audience.

Something about it still troubles me, though. Would it make sense to divide an aggregate’s home page into sections–each quarter devoted to its own type of news: world headlines, celebrity gossip, nutty trends, U.S. politics…? What do you think?

Are the people who design the presentation of this information finally achieving the journalistic ideal of being fair and balanced, or are they mistakenly encouraging their readers to view all headlines as equally weighty?



Let me begin by confessing that I am a curmudgeon when it comes to language. I type text messages without abbreviations or misspellings–no “wuz,” “cuz,” or “ppl” for me. (The only exception is when I’m running out of characters and a truncation allows me to fit everything in one message.)

So you can probably imagine my consternation at the newest kind of love I’m seeing on the internet: loveee! Captions, comments, even blog posts contain this ridiculous profession of affection. It makes as little sense as “mmmnemonic” would. Why are you repeating a letter that isn’t pronounced?! Do you really “lovey” this, or are you just trying to emphasize how much you love it? If the former, I have nothing to say to you. If the latter, maybe you can try “looove?” Just a thought.