Content Quality – The Decline of Intelligent Web-Journalism

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Content may be king, but too many play the fooljoker

Too many times I go to an SEO, web-journalist, or otherwise implied textual content king’s website and find two common mistakes that turn me away from their sites forever; poor grammar and erroneous spelling. They don’t seem to know their “there, they’re and theirs” or how to use spell-check. Call me a grammar Nazi. Call me a pocket-protector wearing teachers pet. Call me over-obsessive and easily disappointed, but this is a major pet peeve of mine. In our race to build relevant, keyword-driven content it seems that many have overlooked the basic rules of the English language. Know one… err… excuse me, NO one seems to care about readability. Few writers are using proofreading techniques to overlook their copy before publishing it to the rest of the web-world. As a result, these writers are being represented by content that seems unintelligent and unprofessional.

And what’s even scarier is that people accept this. I think that’s because so many people write poorly that our minds are pre-programmed to translate idiocy into legible content. In this world of instant gratification and real-time updates, I would like to think that the massive amounts of errors are due to people writing on a deadline or rushing to get a scoop on traffic. However, in his article Ten things journalists can do to reinvent journalism, writer Howard Owens makes the following excellent point: “Treating every story like a scoop leads to errors, both in reporting and thought process about how to handle the story. The economic value of beating the competition these days is arguably nil. The value of being a trusted source of a timely, reliable, steady stream of intelligent information is significant. These are not contradictory points, if you think them through.”

In the end, intelligent and well-written content will win out over rushed text. Longevity, and even profitability, will be best achieved by those who have gained a loyal audience through providing quality content.

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