Journalese, A User's Guide

Journalese: Going viral

At some point in your career, you’re going to get a good story.

Until then, there’s the internet.

Before you uncover the scandal that will topple the government/the global military industrial complex/the Bilderberg group, you’ll have a chance to write something that people will actually read: a listicle.

Your years jabbing fingers into late-night party chests on finer political points and a pricey media education will only truly pay off when you get the chance to ‘go viral’.

Time was you ‘broke’ a story (an exclusive no one had handed to you on a plate) and it’ got legs’ (got a mention on the morning radio talk shows. If you were lucky, drivetime radio may even carry it along and draft in a talking head, preferably political, to get steamed up about it. If you really DID have something and your timing was right (Tuesdays or the day of ministerial questions in your political chambers) it may even get ‘traction’ and surface as the ‘Something Must Be Done’ topic du jour.

If chat shows found a ‘victim’ of the Thing That Something Must Be Done About, your luck’s in. Expect a call from a  radio production assistant or their more brightly dressed television cousins. You may find yourself in the gaping maw of the media explaining to people who don’t care (the public) How You Broke The Story.

Scoop or listicle, the outcome can be pretty much the same

Scoop or listicle, the outcome can be pretty much the same

Frighteningly, your random day at the office can even end up effecting social change.

But so, too, can watching cat videos. Or, if embedding links from YouTube isn’t your thing, the king of digital content: the listicle.

Becuase while effecting social change may be rewarding, it doesn’t really pay the bills. If it did, newspapers would still be healthy. As it is, most millenials hold a dim view of the Fourth Estate, and given the corporate squalor which passes for news, that view may not be too cynical to hold.

New readers won’t be coming along any time soon.

But Nine Ways To Wash Your Bra That You Won’t Believe!

That’s viral.


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