Tag Archives: journalism

What’s the deal with Metro articles?

Ah, the Metro. That free paper you get on trains. A nice little read that gets you caught up on the day’s events and celebrity non-happenings.

It reminds me of old school days, and the times I got the train from a friend’s house (my default commute was on the Harlow-Chelmsford bus, sadly devoid of any complementary news correspondence).

But recently, something weird has happened to the Metro. Specifically, their online offerings at Metro.co.uk. I’m talking about things like this:

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Huh? This is currently the 2nd article in their ‘Trending’ section. I’m not sure what trending means in that context though. Maybe it means most read, or most shared? By comparison, here’s the current BBC top read:

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Where’s the spot-squeezing article at, yo? I’m confused. It’s just bad news and death!

But maybe it’s unfair to compare the Metro and BBC in this way. They cater to different audiences I suppose. And the taxpayer-funded BBC doesn’t quite have the same financial pressures as the free online version of a free print newspaper. The reliance on clickbait in the Metro shouldn’t be surprising.

BUT WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO WEIRD?! Here are some more.

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Legit an article about a muscular bird.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 15.22.48ISIS? What ISIS? This is news about Chinese runners eating soap.

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No…. she doesn’t?

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MUST READ lol. All the lads getting their online clickbait in.

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Sounds like some good science.

They also have some strange fascination with aliens.

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Oh, and demons…

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It’s that last one that gets me the most. DEMON USES TEXT MESSAGES. Putting the bit after demon in quotes doesn’t mean it doesn’t look like you’re endorsing the existence of demonic entities. You’re meant to put the WHOLE thing in quotes.

Unless the Metro genuinely does believe in aliens and demons. And the straight way they report these articles makes it hard to see otherwise. Hmm.

There’s only three possible conclusions then:

  1. The Metro is secretly run by aliens and demons, who keep forgetting that writing stories about aliens and demons isn’t a typical thing that humans do.
  2. The Metro is run by humans but to cater TO the alien/demon market. This implies that the Metro journalists are least aware of the existence of these creatures, and are partially complicit in their concealment from the wider populace, OR perhaps are psychically controlled to be ‘news-slaves.’
  3. All of the above.

But if any of that were true, you’d think they’d make it a bit more obvious. Maybe a hint somewhere. Hiding in plain sight and all that. Perhaps a little note in their website banner or something?

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Oh, right.

Let’s not write all our opinion pieces like this

Something has happened in the news and I have an opinion about it. I’m going to try and convince you of my point, which you can tell because I’ve said “let’s not” in the title. This partisan polemic will be punctuated with lots of prescriptivist prose for pseudo-intellectuals to praise.

I’ll start by demonstrating how this thing that has happened in the news affects me personally. Perhaps something similar happened to me once, or I can get offended easily on someone else’s behalf. This makes me uniquely suited to telling you all what to think about it.

Next I’ll try and sum up the debate so far. I’ll go over the thing that happened in detail, even though you’re obviously already aware of what happened if you’re reading my comment. I’ll then explain what people have been saying about it so far. Look, here are some quotes from other comment-style articles! By laying out the debate like this I’m automatically making my opinion appear more valid; after all, I’ve surely considered all these opinions myself and still chosen to form my own. Patting myself on the back right now.

Now a whole paragraph in which I act as if I’m in any position to tell you how to live your life, or how government should form policy. So what if I’m massively over-simplifying how things get done? That’s not my problem. If I can write it, it can happen. I mean really, everyone would be better off if I just got put in charge of running the whole damn show.

Here are some statistics to back my point up. 25% of all statistics are used to prove points like this in comment pieces. Want a source for that statistic? Tough luck. I don’t need to back myself up, I just need to interpret the statistics in whatever way makes me look right.

But of course I wouldn’t say all this without thinking about the other side of the debate. Here are some imagined responses to my comment. Of course, they’re all straw men or ignore the nuance of real debate. But I win anyway! This makes it look like there’s no serious alternative to my point of view.

So that’s all pretty much case closed then. Here are some closing comments, even smarmier than the rest of the article. Feel free to let me know your point of view in the comments, which I have no intention of reading.