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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Automatic news feeds: When the 'shit' hits the fan

It may go unnoticed by many readers, but certain "news" sites are maintained and updated by automatic feeds. Their social media accounts, too. That's why  I was less than surprised to learn several prominent sites Saturday ran a headline with an explicative.
"World Series 'shits' to Detroit" 
Spotted and rightfully derided by Deadspin, it reportedly took the sites a while to realize what they had inadvertently done by trusting a machine with little oversight to do a cerebral task like headline writing.
When stories come off "the wire," (The Oakland Press subscribes to The Associated Press, but gets much content from partner newspapers), the content comes with a suggested headline. The headlines are traditionally rewritten for print because they have to be. That's not the case with websites.
And just to clarify, no, we don't "employ" the use of automatic feeds to update our website and/or social media.
Deadspin notes several Twitter users had fun at these sites' expense.  
And while computers and search engines might be good at analytics and search-engine optimization, you can't put a price on the human element. It's like the opposite of the "Replay in MLB" argument.
In short, these offending "Snooze" organizations got what they deserved. Expect more of the same in the years to come.


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