Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lowbrow for the burbs: side eye to the AJC

When news of the NFL’s fine of $50,000 for “refusal to cooperate” in the case of lewd text messages allegedly sent by future NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Brett Favre, media coverage was predictably swift and salacious.

But when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted the story to its website at first the headline read, “Favre fined for sexting.”

Wait. What? Really? “Favre fined for sexting?”

Because this was all together misleading and inaccurate I tagged the AJC in my Twitter feed suggesting they correct it. Minutes later the headline read, “Favre fined ‘over’ sexting.”

Ummm, no. That’s still not right, and borderline libelous.

One more direct message exchange with the staffer on duty for @AJC and minutes later the headline read, “NFL fines Favre in sexting probe.”

Oh good: corrected by putting “sexting” and “probe” together. Well done.

Perhaps even more egregious is the anti-City of Atlanta slant to which the AJC has turned its “news coverage” in an effort to attract more suburban readers. Creative Loafing (@cl_atlanta) rightly exposed that in some detail.

Hell, the AJC even vacated their city center offices on Marietta Street for suburban digs on the filthy congested north end of the Interstate 285 perimeter.

Is this really what you think your high-growth OTP target audience is after AJC? Can you not aspire to something, ummm, well… better?

In the toxic TMZ era in which we live, keeping headlines salacious is beneficial to content providers. I get that. The more click-throughs, page hits, shares, etc., the more a media outlet can charge its online advertisers; a necessary evil as newspapers in particular struggle to monetize their content in a time in which hard copy circulation remains weak at best.

But you’re taking the easy way out, dear AJC. Side eye in your direction. Correction: this is a downright nasty glare.

In an effort to give credit where it’s due there are several hard-working, and almost certainly underpaid, reporters at the AJC that provide valuable content I happily consume: SOME breaking news, Falcons, Braves and more. The team of staffers charged with maintenance of the AJC’s Twitter feed (@ajc) is quite responsive, a characteristic that matches perfectly with the high value of audience engagement and online community building.

I suppose then what I’m asking the AJC for is this. As our region’s flagship print and online news provider with a long and noble history, could you please bump it up a notch or two in the class department? Because if you’re going to insist on shoehorning “sexting” into headlines no matter what, and if you’re going to extricate your headquarters from the city that bears your banner’s name, I’ve never been prouder to be a part of the audience that is trying to find other sources for local news.

1 comment:

  1. Oh good grief. The AJC can't even write good salacious headlines. Even about their newest frenemy, City of Atlanta.