Feel Good Friday: When Gaffes Happen to ‘Good’ Journalists

The New York Post is one of those papers that you should only read with a grain of salt. It’s pretty much a place where frat boys with a communications degree go to make ridiculous puns and silly headlines. It’s the kind of pick me up, like a GIF ridden Tumblr blog, you can turn to when you want to have a chuckle and get a lesson in how not to report the news.

That’s why it’s no surprise that they made a Photoshop composite on their cover this week. You should just assume that they all are. It’s the News Corp way.

But doesn’t it sort of make you feel good about what you do?

Show and Tell

Unless you’re job is to be funny, like the Post or Gawker, making composites for your homepage photo is not a practice you should partake in. The only thing you should be doing with photo editing software is adjusting levels or image sizes. Even the most innocent offenses, like getting rid of a fly away hair or removing something distracting from the background, can lead you down a dark and uneasy road. If the picture needs work, you need to go out and retake it. Or find another one to use.

The same rule applies when it comes to video. The FOX CT debacle of too much cleavage  in a Women’s History Month segment could easily happen online, too. We’re all busy, but take the time to edit and review content. What’s ‘funny’ to bored overnight editors amongst themselves will hardly be as well received in the real world. Just because we live in an onslaught of media doesn’t mean things can slip through the cracks.

Clicks and Engagement

Some have said that the new layout for the New York Times isn’t any good. Too much focus on making it readable, when other newspapers like The Daily Mail have been surviving with their completely unreadable homepage.

That’s because the Mail is a tabloid. Their strategy is to get clicks, and the more you have to click to get to the photos of someone doing something bad, the more “money” they make. Clicks and SEO are important. It’s all ingrained in our consciousness when we publish, but it should be left out of the planning and writing phase. The new layout for the Times is simply good strategy. As mobile and news pubs evolve, a focus on being readable should be at the heart of any good strategy, because that’s the business of news. Don’t get caught up in the hype. If the content is good, and accessible, they will come. You don’t need bad puns to get them. A good pun? That’s an entirely different story.

Have you spotted any other good fails on the web this week?