We had a media training session this week involving one of our larger clients last week.
Executives from around the world flew in to learn about the art of getting key points across in press interviews, and take turns in the Hot Seat (mock interviews with real journalists).
I love these sessions because they help us bond with clients, and share experiences and observations about the worlds of technology and the media.
We commiserated about the increasingly negative and provocative tone of tech reporting. The tech trade press used to be a safe place to share your story, and get your messages across unchallenged. These days, it seems, everyone is after that biting headline that draws viewers and clicks.
That is the perception, but is it true? I saw two articles in the NY Times last week that are relevant to the question – one about the dangers of being too incendiary, and the second, which seems to show people enjoy and prefer to share positive stories.
In Stumbling Along in the Race to be Provocative, William Rhoden wrote:
Stephen A. Smith will return to active duty this week at ESPN, which suspended him for being overzealous — and imprecise — while doing what he is paid to do: provoke and incite. [His] remarks are the latest example of how the line between being thought-provoking and merely provoking has become blurred and how thoughtful discourse has been compromised.
…histrionics are intended not as much to facilitate debate as to draw, and keep, fans. As competition has escalated, news media outlets have become increasingly obsessed with their audience numbers. We want your eyes, your ears, your wallets.
Heated debates around polarizing figures and polarizing quotations make for good copy and great TV. But do they lead to positive change?… As we chase dollars, we make progressively less sense
Sheila Marikar wrote in her story On the Nice Internet, Caring is Sharing
Anchored by websites including Thought Catalog, Upworthy and ViralNova, this is an Internet that aims to lift up, not take down…But behind their warm and fuzzy veneers, these growing media companies are businesses, and they peddle in uplifting content because they believe it’s profitable.
“A lot of it is clicky headlines and shareable headlines, and shareable headlines that play with certain identities.. people want to share with their friends to self-represent,” Mr. Magnin said. Indeed, his site has filled a void: Thought Catalog’s compilation of life advice, nostalgic lists and “betcha didn’t know this” type wisdom drew more than 34 million unique visitors in June, according to Quantcast.. the website of Time magazine had about 2.6 million unique visitors during the same month.