Excuse me, but what in the hell is the deal with all this iReport shit? And don't even get me started on "CNN dot com slash Heroes."
Don’t get me wrong, I know why it exists and why it might attract viewers, because people are boring enough to enjoy someone just like them telling them what they already know. That said, can you please get this goddamn idiot off my television screen??! The Internet media revolution is fantastic; now we can get news directly from the experts in the field, rather than those people deemed to be experts by a media corporation with limited staff and resources. But CNN still doesn't get it.
With the advantage of getting news directly from the source, the disadvantage is that there are no easy and reliable ways to separate the wheat from the chaff of Internet content. This is where a smart and forward-thinking media corporation could step in. A business has the money and resources sufficient enough to filter this content for people. That is the role of for-profit media; to show me the content that is worthy of being shown.
Speaking of which, as if the iReport site wasn’t cluttered enough already, today it inserted an annoying little header at the top of the page saying “Breaking News: Sharapova overpowers Errani to win French Open.” Since when is this “Breaking News??” Oh, sure, it’s technically “breaking,” as in recent, but when I was a kid breaking news was something like “We interrupt this program to—holy shit, a fucking airplane just crashed into the World Trade Center!” or “Fuck me running, an F5 hurricane is barrelling its way up the coast and you all have 30 minutes to live!!” That’s breaking news.
This just goes to show that CNN has no good filtering system. The advantage of free public media is not bespoke in the worthless content overflowing the Youtube servers. It is instead bespoke in a handful of well-written blogs by knowledgeable people. It is demonstrated by an excellent swath of video and audio podcasts now cropping up. The correct idea would be to bring in some of the experts behind the most popular blogs and webcasts, to use the popularity of these blogs as a filter for quality content. The correct idea IS NOT to ask people to submit their ideas directly to your website and have one of your interns sift through all the crud and shit to pick out one or two morons arbitrarily. I could not give less of a crap about what these people "think about the Vice Presidential ticket," and I am downright insulted that CNN dares to waste my time like this and profit from it. It is a complete and utter joke.
The iReports that I have seen make it up onto the national broadcast were completely indistinguishable from thousands upon thousands of other video submissions — I could not for the life of me determine what was special about them. I cannot believe this relatively well-financed corporation has managed to fail so miserably at choosing quality entries. Perhaps they are overly optimistic, not realizing that anyone who has anything worthy to say will not bother regurgitating their thoughts into the vast abyss of iReport.com just to see it lost in the noise.
Whatever they're thinking, the folks at CNN have harnessed the most powerful communication tool ever devised by man ... and used that power to find the most efficient way to lower the quality of their already watered-down presentation. Congratulations, guys.
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