Monday, April 9, 2007

There's News ... and There's People Who Blog About News

Look, I realize I'm not in any position to actually complain about AOL anymore.  I mean, it's free.  You get what you pay for.

And yet ... I want to know if I'm the only one who is annoyed by this:

I'm lookin' at the AOL Welcome Screen as it rotates through various headlines.  I'll click on a headline of interest expecting to be connected to a news report of the story related to said headline.  Instead, I am linked to a blog discussing the bit of news.

This annoys me.

Hey, I like blogs.  (It'd be pretty silly for me to complain about blogs on my own blog now, wouldn't it?)  But I don't want to get my news from a blog.  I want to get my news from a ... y'know ... news source.  If I want commentary on the news, then I'll search out a blog.

That's the real difference.  I mean, if I get a news story off of Reuters or AP, I can expect it to be a more or less objective description of the facts.  Sure, I don't expect all news outlets to be completely objective.  Heck, if I get a news story off Fox News, I know that I can expect it to lean a bit to the right.  But I know that in advance, if I choose to get my news off of Fox.

The thing about blogs is: you don't know what you're getting.  You know you're most likely not getting any attempt to objectively set out the facts.  You're likely getting an editorial -- the opinion of the blogger -- on the news story.  Which, again, I want to stress is all well and good.  The problem here is that when I click on a headline on the AOL welcome screen, I'm expecting news, so I get annoyed when it links me to some blogger's editorial

Too many times, I've clicked on a link expecting to get a news story and instead I get a blog coming from a point of view so divergent from mine I close the link in disgust before I finish reading said blogger's attempt to convert me to his or her way of thought.  Other times, I'm linked to a blog that is just really poorly written.  And in nearly every case, if you happen to make it to the end of the article, you're treated to comments -- and if the story is on a topic that is anywhere near controversial, the comments are likely to be invective-filled rants I'm ashamed to have on my computer screen.

So, here's the thing.  AOL, if you actually want me to keep using you for a source of news (which, of course, involves clicking through and seeing lots of ads and stuff), stop linking to blogs as though they were news reports.  Or, at the very least, clearly identify when a link is to a blog before we click it.  Is that too much to ask?


helmswondermom said...

The only thing worse is expecting to get some kind of helpful health or nutrition information or tip and then having the page open to what looks like an infomercial instead.

mutualaide said...

Amen!  AOL, listen up.  We're are all worn out.  Free.  Or not free.