We are not talking about the National Enquirer here folks. We are talking about Cable News, Network News, Print Newspapers, Print Magazines, and of course the internet boom in journalistic voyeurism. We just gave an example – the use of the term ‘journalistic voyeurism’ is much more interesting than say, ‘Journalistic practice.’
The Fireside Post has been in business for over a year. We like to have visitors, lots of visitors. We want to entertain and inform and sometimes just participate in the cultural debate. But we like to have readers visit. How might we best accomplish this goal? One easy solution is to couch all articles in terms of sex or violence – and add the name of a celebrity for good measure. This writer thought about using the term ‘voyeurism’ in the title – that would have virtually guaranteed a much larger audience.
Last week we had several very good posts. One on Sarah Palin, Two on OJ Simpson, and one on the chemistry required for Obama to have a successful team. In terms of which attracted the most visitors, Sarah Palin was the leader, with OJ a close second, and the transition of the most powerful government in the world a distant third.
The writers of the Fireside Post have discussions about what we want to write about and what the public is interested in. We want to be dignified, but we also really enjoy a lively debate by readers in the comments section of our magazine. With many thousands of comments posted, we have deleted one and edited another because of the language. Some comments are mean spirited, but the post itself was often heavily biased.
This magazine is fundamentally an opinion page, along with some how to’s. Well researched posts on Team Chemistry are ultimately just opinion. We like to think they are educated opinion – but they are opinion never-the-less. We often research different positions on modern cultural debate – then we take a position and go for the gusto. Cultural debate is very healthy for the population in general – and we like to think we contribute to the health of our country.
But we sure do like visitors. A few months ago I was feeling desperate for readers, so I fudged a post title. It was just a little misleading, but it implied something the post did not support. The comments were full of challenges to the title – it was a healthy response to a mis stated headline.
I think I will go back to the headline and add the word voyeurism. OK, folks, I began this post with a headline of “Tabloid Journalism Sells.” I am changing it to “Tabloid Voyerism Sells.” I am probably overestimating the ability of tabloid folks to understand the word voyuerism.
Yesterday the Governor of Illinois was arrested and charged with conspiracy to corrupt (my term). The evening news was filled with tabloid headlines: “Governor Sells Senate Seat,” “Illinois Most Currupt State,” and “Lincoln Turns Over in Grave.” All of the headlines danced around the truth – and all were designed to sell the program.
They could have just announced, “Illinois Governor Practices Lincoln Voyeurism.” Now that would probably sell.