Clickbait Watch #3 🖱️

The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel

New section!

We're launching a new weekly section called "Clickbait Watch". Clickbait stories are are meant to generate online clicks for the purpose of driving more traffic and hence generate more $$$ for the publisher. This often means loud, extreme language used in the titles of stories. I guess not many people click on calm titles. 🤷

So what?

Clickbait leads to a rise in the volume and anxiety of your online news experience, or even misleading reporting. Each week we'll look at the most egregious clickbait titles, and after analyzing them, give them a less extreme title based on the actual information in the article.


CLICKBAIT #2:

Weather.com:  Just Discovered at Yellowstone, and it's growing 

News Bling’s suggestion: Yellowstone Scientists Find New Thermal Area, Highlighting Its Dynamic Nature

Reason: This title, as it appeared in the link on the Weather.com homepage, is alarming, especially considering well-known fears about an eventual supervolcano erupting in Yellowstone.  The real title, once you click on the article, is more reasonable and fair: Yellowsone Scientists Find New Thermal Area; No, It Doesn't Mean a Volcano Eruption is Coming. Why not make this, or something like this, the link title?  Because then there would be fewer clicks and less $$$.

CLICKBAIT #1:

Fox News: Ocasio-Cortez slammed as 'financially illiterate' at Sharpton event over Amazon, faces calls to be ousted from office

News Bling’s suggestion: Investor calls Ocasio-Cortez 'financially illiterate' at Sharpton event over Amazon

Reason:  This article title uses some common clickbait strategies. First, the verb "slammed." Second, clickbait often inflates the amount of people doing or saying something, either by simply finding a few Twitter users to quote or just using a couple of people as examples, and then saying something like: “[insert location] erupts over latest announcement from [insert person].”  In this case, just one person is saying these things about Ocasio-Cortez, but the title is purposefully vague and misleading about this – a fact which is not revealed until later in the article.


Don't be such a tourist, Blane.


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