A testimony to the net surfer's spirit
By Alexandra Posadzki
It's no mystery that the internet loves stupid.
That was one of the themes that David Topping, editor-in-chief of Torontoist.com, touched on during his lecture at the mini ORCUP (Ontario Regional Canadian University Press) conference hosted Saturday by U of T's student paper, The Strand.
Topping raises a valid point. Most of us have probably seen more cute pictures of animals doing human-like things on the net than we have read intelligent, thought-provoking articles.
Topping pointed out how two of the posts on Torontoist that have gotten the largest number of hits lately are a video of a pigeon getting off the subway at Runnymede and a hilarious clip of Jack Layton celebrating Canada's Olympic gold hockey victory.
While the fact that we seem to enjoy watching goofy videos more than digesting anything intelligible is a little troubling, it's certainly not surprising. Most of us can admit that we're easily amused and get a good chuckle or two out of what Topping describes in his post as a "testimony to the pigeon spirit."
What's a little more troubling, however, is a recent trend amongst newspapers to begin emulating the internet in order to gain readers' attention. The fact that stories about facebook are making headlines and twitpics are gracing the front pages of many papers is challenging our notion of what is truly newsworthy these days.
My hope is that, as the news industry continues to shrink and newspapers transition predominantly to the net, journalists will continue to make decisions that favour integrity, rather than stooping to the level of cheap internet memes.
Alexandra Posadzki (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a radio room intern at the Toronto Star and the Editor-in-Chief of Excalibur, York University's community newspaper.