That line up there at the top, that line is taken from the movie Gladiator. Russel Crowe is in the middle of the arena having beaten and won a pretty outstanding mock battle for the enjoyment of the crowd. He asks them, “are you not entertained?”
Since the U.S. election there have been several stories and reports about the “fake news” sites that have become popular, particularly through Facebook posting and sharing. The LA Times article called it “yellow journalism,” a term that harkens back to Hearst and the Spanish-American War he created just to sell newspapers.
Fake news is not new. Neither is doing just about anything to get an audience. In the 19th century it was readers. Television came along and the “if it bleeds, it leads” mantra started. Those were going after viewers. Now it’s clicks and website visits. The bottom line is the bottom line.
These sites that create news that is fabricated can make upwards of $50,000 to $80,000 a month – a month! In thinking about the popularity of fake news sites, it lead me to consider how AVNation and others like us cover the industry. Are we doing everything we can to be forthright or are we bordering on yellow journalism? And is that something our audience wants?
In talking with someone for whom I have a great respect, he made the comment that those covering AV were seen as cheerleaders. The job was to tell all the great things that were happening in the industry, eschewing the bad or controversial, and moving along. I’m not comfortable with that. I have always maintained that I don’t think AVNation should be dishonest or controversial for the sake of doing so. On the other hand, I don’t want to shy away from an important topic because it makes our underwriters uncomfortable.
Our main metric is our podcast listens. Our audience is one of the best and I am humbled every month I get the reports. Selling podcasting numbers is difficult and more often than not the question of our website traffic comes up. We are not the most visited site, not second, or even third. We are working on that as honorably as we can through SEO and creating some pretty great content. Then I read about a couple of these fake sites and it’s a little disheartening.
So, I ask you dear reader. What do you look for in your audio visual news? Why do you visit our site, or others? Are you looking for cheerleaders or news and commentary? Please comment below. The more we know, the better we can work to serve your interests.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.