I’ve been a list maker all my life. Grocery list, honey-do list, what-to-pack-on-my-trip list, birthday-party list, hell I even make errands-to-run lists. A former partner called them my “little listies.”
My list is purposeful, meant to keep me on track. It delivers a clear outline of what I needand what to do, with a glance. It is NOT a primer for journalism.
Hold on, what? Yes, journalism.
Lately I’m overwhelmed but the number of articles I read that are actually a regurgitated, or worse, opinion-based list.
- “13 Signs the Person You are With Gets You.”
- “5 Ways the Highway Crisis Could Affect You”
- “Best Hammocks for Summer Reading”
- “5 Healthy Habits that Regulate Your Appetite”
- “How to Beat the NRA in 7 Not So Easy Steps”
Even my beloved NPR has fallen into the pseudo list category, theirs with a fancy video and infographic, of course.
When I discuss with my journalist friends the state of the current media (abysmal!) we tend to agree that the 24/7 news cycle may be one of the worst thing that has ever happened to news. We simply cannot fill the need to consume. So the industry has resorted to the most base, useless writing tactic: the little listy.
Gone is research, investigation, interviewing, craft and editing. Instead you have a list that when put into practical use means you spend most of your day making a list, exercising, getting good sleep, meditating, shopping at the farmers market, clipping coupons, surrounding yourself with POSITIVE people ONLY and staring deeply in your children’s eyes so they can see you hear their needs.
Another triumph for shitty journalism.
That’s not to say that I don’t read anything meaningful any more. I do. The interview with Gary Oldman in Playboy magazine was great! But it was because of Gary Oldman, not the interviewer.
This article on the state of Israel and Palestinian relations was enlightening. But is really just excerpts from another interview.
And I continue my love affair with Pope Francis.
Oh and yes, there is a list for him also. “10 Things to Remember When Pope Francis Upsets You.”
I’ve dedicated to two things in my life recently: less social media and more personal engagement. I’m adding to that list, "don’t read stories that are just lists."
I’ve read that one of the habits of highly successful people is that they make lists. Know where I read that? Yep, on a list.
Here’s a list of some of the traits of successful people, just in case you were wondering.
Or just in case, try this one.