Let’s Stop Giving Common Weather + Lunar Events Edgy Names [OPINION]
All week long, local news media and bloggers alike have been talking about the "Bomb Cyclone" and "Super Snow Moon." Sure, they sound cool, but they're actually fairly common occurrences that were given edgy nicknames to boost those clicks.
Have you heard that there's going to be a Bomb Cyclone this weekend? Right after we had a Super Snow Moon? Is that bad? Should I be worried? What if the Super Snow Wolf Blood Moon 2: Supermoon Reloaded shows up during the Bomb Cyclone in the wake of the Polar Vortex? Are we going to die?
Well, maybe... but probably not from any of that... or at least you're not any more or less likely to die from any of that than you usually would be. This is the type of fear-mongering and sensationalism that local news outlets have employed for decades. However, in the golden age of the internet -- they've gone full throttle.
All these non-events are being given "cool names" to make you think they're unprecedented. Local news outlets are presenting their content with the same formula Billy McFarland used to market the Fyre Festival to millennials. They sell the idea that "this is a unique experience" and "you have to see this," taking full advantage of the those most susceptible to FOMO. Essentially, they're getting you all hyped to look at what we used to just call a "full moon" or "a winter storm," and it's working.
Not so long ago, websites that operated on the fringe of local news journalism (like us) used to be the ones who had fun with the news. We aren't bound to any of the old journalistic rules of impartiality and seriousness by which most respected news outlets played. As long as we're not fabricating stories, we can pretty much say and cover whatever we want. Local infotainment used to be our niche and ours alone. Well, not anymore.
The old guard at most local news outlets must have moved on, because these past few years they've moved into our territory. Instead of sharing what's important, they cover what gets clicks. Forget about that new legislation -- this guy farted on a group of unsuspecting teens at Walmart!
It's progressed to the point where they've now completely embraced full-blown Buzzfeed-ism. They initially played those stories straight, but are now hamming it up on social media, posting memes, and putting dad jokes in their stories. They've become so accustomed to that style that they even do it with the straight forward hard news.
It's embarrassing to see them stoop to this level. Like "your dad showing up at a college party dressed like one of your friends, vaping, and trying to fit in" embarrassing. Now, dads can be cool, but they don't get that way by pretending to be something they're not. The same goes for news outlets. Basically, don't be this gif:
Just so you don't get the wrong idea about what I'm saying -- I'm not a part of the "fake news is the enemy of the people" movement. I am, however, saying that local news outlets overdoing it with sensationalism and sharing memes about how Ohio State sucks isn't gaining them any favor with that crowd.
Maybe It's a little hypocritical for me to be saying this but stay in your lane, local news. We'll see you at the next Supermoon viewing party... if we survive this Bomb Cyclone.