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If you’ve ever wondered what a list of the most pointless news articles would look like, check out a new top 11 inventory. Personal favourites include number five, about teen pregnancy numbers dropping after 25, and number two, “a millionaire is someone who has $1 million.” Jaw-droppingly funny, the list is sadly devoid of information on the sources of bad journalistic efforts. Maybe that’s a positive; I know I would lose an inch of respect for the publications that allowed those phrases to be printed.

The posting, while a humorous read, reflects a more melancholy undercurrent of our values. We’re all aware of the issues surrounding the future of journalism. Whatever attitude you subscribe to—doom and gloom, or something more hopeful—you must acknowledge that we have a responsibility to prove our importance. This post is funny but it reflects an attitude of sloppiness that isn’t. Reporters, editors, producers, etc. need to be aware of the messages they send with sloppy work—uninterested, apathetic and dispassionate media. The message rings loud and clear: if the paper is surviving, it can’t afford to make such mistakes and lose an already dwindling readership. News outlets need to value their readers and demonstrate that to them through good quality reporting and finely tuned articles.

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About the author

Maiya Keidan was the Head of Research for the Spring 2010 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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