Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Deadspin way

1.)  Get a tip which says an ESPN anchor had sent a slimy tweet to Erin Andrews.
2.)  Share the image of the purported tweet without bothering to contact anyone at ESPN.
3.)  Call the ESPN anchor a "dick."
4.)  Collect 30,000 pageviews.
5.)  Realize the photo was fake.
6.)  Issue an apology.
7.)  Try to do better the next time.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Warning: Titles may be misleading.

This week's Entertainment Weekly has a long interview with Joss Whedon, conducted by James Hibberd.  An excerpt was posted on their website, and what's interesting is how Hibberd wrote a little disclaimer at the top of the page.

The two men were discussing different movie sequels, and Hibberd wrote:
"Make no mistake: It’s not that Joss Whedon doesn’t like The Empire Strikes Back...But The Avengers writer-director does have an issue with Empire‘s ending – or its lack of one, to be exact."
Whedon's issue is that the movie ends with a cliffhanger.  He feels any movie, even a sequel, should be a self-contained whole.  (A fair enough criticism.)  Rob Bricken over at io9 read this excerpt, along with the opening paragraph.  So what did Rob choose as the title for his post...?

Here's why Joss Whedon doesn't like Empire Strikes Back.

In what sort of world does the statement, "It's not that Joss Whedon doesn't like Empire Strikes Back" get translated as:  "Joss Whedon doesn't like Empire Strikes Back"?  That title is only possible if Rob willfully ignored his source.  It isn't a "lie" in the usual sense of the word, but I feel like it's similar. I'm not sure if there's a phrase for this.  It's being deliberately obtuse for the purpose of generating more pageviews.

Now, it occurred to me maybe a different io9 editor selected the title—someone who didn't read the original article.  When I e-mailed him to ask that question, Rob politely replied:
"All me. For the record, we have a hilariously small character limit for headlines that allows almost no room for any kind of qualification, and I felt that if Whedon doesn't like part of Empire Strikes Back then the headline isn't technically inaccurate, and I could go into more detail in the article itself."     
Nick Denton did release a memo in April saying Kinja headlines would henceforth be limited to 70 characters.  Yet, even if Rob had chosen the lengthy headline: "Here's what Joss Whedon doesn't like about Empire Strikes Back," that still only would have used up 63 of the 70 characters.