FirstPostic Journalism

Over recent times,  web news portals like FirstPost have emerged as popular destinations for news junkies seeking to know whether Raj Thackeray spoke in Hindi when he visited Gujarat to meet NaMo (not my way of writing Narendra Modi, but a borrowed popular style of writing his name) or whether it was Aishwarya Rai who delivered Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai’s baby.

FirstPost is that thing that comes in between TV/newspapers and news websites like Times Of India or The Hindu or one of them (if the other brings it down through a series of advertisements). It’s like a third category, like how Apple created a third category when bringing in the iPad as an in-between to the iPhone and the Macbooks. Also like how my Mom created a third category called STUDY between SLEEP and FOOTBALL when I was growing up. Okay, probably not that. It’s not this or that, but it’s got a little bit of both this and that. The thing about FirstPost is that it is not a regular, unbiased news portal because of the way you would read what they tweet.

Lately, FirstPost and ESPN Cricinfo have begun to offer opinion or satirize writing when it comes to tweeting. You’d think they are a ‘neutral’ medium, but they aren’t. FirstPost is irritatingly in-your-face with hashtags. It’s so extreme with hashtags diarrhoea that you’d imagine emails between FirstPost staff to go something like this:

Dear XYZ, send me a copy of your draft for the post on Mayawati. #SENDNOW #DONTFORGET #BOSSWILLCUTYOURBALLSOFF #ELEPHANTS

Hey ABC, do you want to go on a date with me on Valentine’s? #VALENTINESDAY #PRAMODMUTHALIK #VIAGRASTILLWORKS

Apparently, FirstPost recently tweeted “#Finally, there’s news on a news-dry day” in the wake of the attack on the Israeli diplomat in Delhi. I wonder if too much opinionizing leaves any space for even basic sense, forget sensitivity. They did move to apologize in a while, but by then that tweet had been retweeted way too many times, good enough for even Shahid Kapoor to learn the spelling of ‘news-dry’ from the tweet. Just so that he won’t go out and spell it as juice-fry.

Of course, if a website can get CNN-IBN journalist, political liberal democrat, author Gin Drinkers and Blind Faith, mother of two teenagers and HT columnist Sagarika Ghose to do an incisive analysis on how clothes matter in politics (Who knew! Oh wait, Shivraj Patil did.), then it can certainly tweet scatterbrained bullshit straight out of a Dummys Guide To Being Dumb.

Fantastic journalism. FirstPostic journalism. #WELLDONE. #KEEPITUP. #BUTBESENSIBLE.

<On Twitter>

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4 thoughts on “FirstPostic Journalism

  1. I just recently started following FirstPost. Used to see them RTed on my timeline a lot. Followed them, very gimmicky.

    I am yet on the fence regarding using hashtags and twitter handles in news related tweets. For instance, I follow many international music and movie sites and rarely do they tag the account of the person about whom the news is. Even rarer is the sight of them using hashtags.

    People might say Twitter is a new medium and hashtags are the way you get around here; it’s easier to find stuff, but Hindustan Times adding #ht at the end of every tweet irritates the hell out of me. HT even tags those whom the news is about.

    Maybe I’ve just not caught up with trends. But such gimmicks just because you want people to RT you when your content isn’t up to the mark; it’s plain ridiculous.

    Also, about FirstPost and ESPN Cricinfo offering opinions in their tweets: Well, I’ve never viewed Cricinfo as pure news, for some reason. Always thought they were opinionated; and having an opinion isn’t a bad thing per se, as long as you are presenting different sides to an issue. And Cricinfo comes across as quite sensible that way. Firstpost, on the other hand, goes along with the tide. It just sees which direction the folks on Twitter are flowing and goes along with that.

    P.S.: When Firstpost tweeted about the news-dry day, I thought one of the many stand up comedians on Twitter had taken over their account.

  2. “Also like how my Mom created a third category called STUDY between SLEEP and FOOTBALL when I was growing up.” – I laughed like a hyena at this for a whole minute!

    I like how your thought-process works. Most importantly, how you get humour in every post.

    Nonchalantly. Subtly. Cleverly.

    Do keep updating this often.

  3. @Runcil – Thanks for that lucid comment. It is a sign of maturity to NOT use hashtags in the manner these Twitter accounts do. It doesn’t make for good viewing, is a sign of desperation and frankly turns me off from following them. I know people who even tweet this way! Hoping the hashtags will catch the eye of some lurking bot who will eventually follow them. Cricinfo, yes, isn’t neutral, isn’t even compelled to be neutral, of course. But it’s a cricketing portal. I’m not sure if satire, of all the ways in which one can express something, is a smart idea. Satire is always a personal thing. An organization cannot be satirical all at once. If you know what I mean. PS: Yes, that tweet was pathetic. They apologized.

    @Julie – Thank you. :-)

  4. Saying whatever one wants and apologizing for it later seems to have become a fad/habit. Even ministers are doing it …. #ThinkBeforeYouSpeak ? :P

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