Connect with us

Opinion Editorials

Media outlets don’t get to have an opinion on “fake news” if their sites are full of fake news

(EDITORIAL) News outlets are spending infinite amounts of time chastising fake news while using Revcontent, Taboola, and Outbrain to serve up the equivalent of fake news as they talk about fake news. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Published

on

newsweek

Back around again

I’d imagine you’re all sick of hearing about the “fake news” epidemic by now. Weirdly enough, we’re sick of talking about it, too. And maybe — just maybe —we wouldn’t have to keep talking about it if the offenders would stop hearing and start listening.

Alright, folks, here we go again.

Step into my office

In an average day at work, I look at 10 to 15 article titles. For each one, I ask myself the same question: “How do I verify this information?”

Sometimes I’m lucky and I can do it all from within my phone’s Settings app.

Other times, I have to perform what amounts to a dive bar crawl through the GI tract of the internet for one or two scraps of information. It’s not always pretty, and it’s certainly not fun —but it’s my job to make sure that readers have solid, dependable information from equally reputable sources so that they don’t end up microwaving their iPhones.

News sources reach huge numbers of people each day. Responsibility comes with the territory. Easy stuff, guys.

Cards on the table

We’ve all seen those annoying ads at the bottom of dime-a-dozen websites with no credibility to their names — those clickbait titles having to do with The Rock eating a 100-pound pizza or Ja Rule suddenly becoming relevant again — and it’s pretty much universally acknowledged that they’re ridiculous, and even comical:

No, I don’t get a rebate just for being a homeowner with a suspiciously vague amount of debt.

No, entering my neighbor’s name into your website isn’t going to show me their credit score.

No, eating “this one trick food” — which, by all appearances, is the rear end of a jellyfish—is not going to help me lose belly fat.

These false ads are just another rendition of the “fake news” epidemic, but we expect no less from the sites on which they seem to thrive.

What’s infinitely more frustrating, however, is when otherwise-credible sources with legitimate news to report end up defaulting to this half-assed methodology in order to generate easy revenue.

Let’s spell this out

You don’t win any sympathy points from anyone if you’re bitching about fake news ruining your site’s reputation while poorly-rendered, poorly-photoshopped images of Donald Trump kissing the baby Jesus and the headline “OBAMA FAKED THE MOON LANDING” are flashing across the bottom of your page.

Quick note from the Editor: The image above is an actual screenshot of a Newsweek story about the dangers of “fake news,” we’re serious. #hypocrites

In fact, if you’re an offender of the above practice, you don’t win any points at all. Apparently, the bare minimum was too high a bar for you. It’s evident that you’re too afraid to kick the training wheels off, so here are a couple of friendly reminders to get you started:

  • The people you allow to advertise on your site are ALWAYS indicative of your ethical lowest common denominator.
  • You have the entirety of human knowledge at your fingertips—start using it.
  • Verify your sources. It takes a few damn minutes.
  • Do better. Seriously.

What a responsibility

During an interview at the premier for his upcoming film (Fences), Denzel Washington was approached by the media for a comment on fake news — to which he responded with this:

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read it, you’re misinformed,” he shot back. “…So what a responsibility you all have to tell the truth. Not just to be first—but to tell the truth.”

Own your responsibility, or get the hell out of the game.

#FakeNews

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

Opinion Editorials

How to crush your next remote job interview

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Working remotely is becoming more and more popular. Learn how to excel during a remote job interview.

Published

on

how to dress for interviews interview

As the career landscape continues to change, so does the way in which we interview. With an increase in remote workers, there is also an increase in video interviews.

What immediately comes to mind for me was three years ago when I had a video interview with the fabulous COO of The American Genius. Since the company is based out of Austin, and I’m in Chicago, we had a video chat to see if I’d be a good fit for the company.

While it took some of the pressure off being able to be in my own home for the interview, there was definitely the con of…being in my own home for the interview. Fear of any noise or interruption posed as a slight distraction.

Like an in person interview, there are some pressures that go along with a video interview. The main one being that you need to sell yourself as an extremely responsible individual who can handle the freedoms and rigors of remote work.

Employers are looking for accountability in their remote workers. You must be able to execute your tasks in with a heightened amount of self-discipline.

This can be done through use of time trackers and proactive reporting. Keeping track of each task you do, and the time spent doing it, will provide something tangible for your employer. Be sure to explain during the interview that this is something you will provide to the employer.

Next, because there is a change in environment, and arguably a change in responsibility level, the questions asked during the interview may be different from your standard interview.

A few questions that may pop up to keep in mind: what hours will you be working? What is your remote experience like? Is this something you’re seeking for supplemental work, or trying to do full-time? What is your home workspace like? What tools do you use to keep yourself on task? What is your preferred method of payment?

In turn, there are some questions you should be prepared to ask, as in any other interview. For example: What would a typical day look like if we were working together in-house? Do you offer advancement opportunities? How many of your team members work remotely and how do we all stay in contact?

Working remotely can be a whole different beast in terms of proving yourself to your employer. Having yourself fully prepared for an interview can help start you off on the right foot.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

Living as a 7 in the Instagram world of 11s (why hotties rule IG)

(OPINION) Hot people have it, not people want it, Instagram perpetuates it – beauty, and it’s a prime ingredient for success.

Published

on

instagram attractiveness

Who runs the world? Girls. Who runs the social media world (read: Instagram)? Hot girls. And hot guys.

Social media has always fascinated me. When I was a freshman in high school I got a Facebook – all you older millennials that had to wait ‘til college can hop off because I wasn’t allowed to have Myspace / Xanga / any other predecessor social sites.

That Facebook allowed me to connect to my camp friends, one of whom lived in a different country, family in other states and the friends that I saw every day.

My story is pretty predictable after that. Social media blew up, I did my millennial duty to help the creation and exposure of new sites and now here we are. Living in a society where hot girls on Instagram selling tea that makes you poo make more money than that girl with multiple degrees.

I’m not gonna blame millennials, but I kind of am, but everyone had a hand in this.

As a society we value celebrity. When I was a child that value manifested into society with tabloid magazines and copying haircuts (hello, Rachel Green). As a teen, that value on celebrity pivoted into the daytime/nighttime / anytime talk show. Now, as an adult that missed the opportunity to make an ascent into stardom via YouTube, celebrity is valued by way of social media.

EVEN CELEBRITIES HAVE THEIR CELEBRITY VALUE MEASURE BY SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS.

Don’t get me wrong. Several *actually* talented and wonderful people have leveraged social media in niche ways and created a nice lifestyle for themselves. However, I’m also going to assert that 80% of social media influencers / modern celebrities would be nothing if they weren’t hot.

Singers that have worked their way up the ranks with 6 second Vine video snippets and two minute YouTube videos can have insanely gifted voices but it also doesn’t hurt that were nice to look at while they hit that E5 note.

Artists and illustrators that have busted their butts and their hands creating and making stunning visual pieces can create one-of-a-kind masterpieces but it also helps that they throw the occasional full-glam face selfie.

That one guy or gal that posts photos of (seemingly) delectable food can have grown a 100% organic following by creating content that people want to see but it will also never be a negative for them to post a photo of them in their swimsuit on that tropical island they got paid to visit.

And please hear me when I say this: being attractive helps offline too. The amount of times my insanely attractive guy friend has profited from his jawline jaw line is almost as crazy as the amount of times my unfairly gorgeous gal pal has reaped the benefits of having phenomenal facial symmetry. Hell, even I’ve used a hair flip and batted an eye in lieu of twisting arms.

I’m pretty sure there’s some science somewhere that says that its natural for people to be inherently attracted to attractive people. I’m not sure why that is, but at least in my life, I’ve found it to be true. Unashamedly (and slightly shamefully) I’ve listened to authority figures better when they were kind on the eyes, I’ve gone to the cash register with the prettier human, I’ve followed the accounts of people who created an aesthetic I vibed with more.

Sometimes it just feels like that if a quarter of the pictures on a highly followed account – skilled or otherwise — weren’t of the person made up, or shirtless, or provocatively posed, they might not have the same level of following or at least engagement. Honestly, it makes the whole exchange feel insincere (which is a funny thing to say about internet interactions to begin with). Like, even if I buy that gadget / get those clothes / put that makeup on / fill-in-the-blank from that #ad on your Instagram story the exact way you do I still won’t look like you.

Reminds me of that old saying, “you can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig.” You can buy that stuff off that one hottie’s Instagram but you’re still going to be you.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

Do women that downplay their gender get ahead faster?

(OPINION) A new study about gender in the workplace is being perceived differently than we are viewing it – let’s discuss.

Published

on

women downplay gender

The Harvard Business Review reports that women benefit professionally when they downplay their gender, as opposed to trying to focus on their “differences” as professional strength.

The article includes a lot of interesting concepts underneath its click-bait-y title. According to the study by Professors Ashley Martin and Katherine Phillips, women felt increasingly confident when they pivoted from focusing on highlighting potential differences in their perceived abilities based on their gender and instead gave their attention to cultivating qualities that are traditionally coded as male*.

Does this really mean that women need to “downplay” their gender? Does it really mean women who attempt this get ahead in this world faster?

I don’t think so.

The article seems to imply that “celebrating diversity” in workers is akin to giving femme-identified employees a hot pink briefcase – it actually calls attention to stereotyped behaviors. I would argue that this is not the case (and, for the record, rock a hot pink briefcase if you want to, that sounds pretty badass).

I believe that we should instead highlight the fact that this study shows the benefits that come when everyone expands preconceived notions of gender.

Dr. Martin and her interviewer touch on this when they discuss the difference between gender “awareness” and “blindness.” As Dr. Martin explains, “Gender blindness doesn’t mean that women should act more like men; it diminishes the idea that certain qualities are associated with men and women.”

It is the paradox of studies like this one that, in order to interrogate how noxious gendered beliefs are, researchers must create categories to place otherwise gender-neutral qualities and actions in, thus emphasizing the sort of stereotypes being investigated. Regardless, there is a silver lining here as said by Dr. Martin herself:

“[People] are not naturally better suited to different roles, and [people] aren’t better or worse at certain things.”

Regardless of a worker’s gender identity, they are capable of excelling at whatever their skills and talent help them to.

*Though the HBR article and study perpetuate a binary gender structure, for the purposes of our discussion in this article, I expand its “diversity” to include femme-identified individuals, nonbinary and trans workers, and anybody else that does not benefit from traditional notions of power that place cisgendered men at the top of the social totem pole.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories