The anatomy of bogus trends in journalism

How to write a bogus trend story: Start with something you wish were on the rise. State that rise as a fact. Allow that there are no facts, surveys, or test results to support such a fact. Use and reuse the word seems. Collect anecdotes and sprinkle liberally. Drift from your original point as far as you can to collect other data points. Add liberally. Finish with an upbeat quotation like “My cat takes priority over the new relationship. Realistically, unless there’s something absolutely amazing about [the woman I’m dating], he wins.”

My two cents

Memories, anecdotes, shared moments in SL ...
Memories, anecdotes, shared moments in SL … (Photo credit: [Ljus] Patricia vs NatG)
For a while I have suspected that some social trends are just journalists’ concoctions. This quote systematises it a bit. Hopefully now I can spot things like this more easily.  I also have to agree with the anecdotes in certain stories. As a hypothetical example they’ll interview Caitlin, 24 in sales, and Matt 31 an advertising executive…the phrasing of their quotes seems a little too concocted, and it makes such articles appear more fake…to me anyway.

Quote source

Shafer, J cited in anon. (2009). Stuff Journalists Like – #24 Trends. Available: Last accessed 11th Jul 2012.


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