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News Reporter Complains About Keywords


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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 01:29 PM

Many major news agencies train their reporters in the basics of search engine optimization so their stories are competitive in search results. But what happens when they’re asked to overdo it?

In the Sunday, June 11, CNN morning show hosted by Howard Kurtz, Reliable Sources, Kurtz asked several guest journalists their opinions on the reporting of Anthony Weiner’s wife’s pregnancy, and whether or not this was an invasion of her privacy and necessary in lieu of the already exploding news about her husband’s sleazy online behavior.

One of the journalists admitted that he’d received an email at work that listed a slew of keywords he was expected to use in his story, such as “Anthony Weiner’s Wife Pregnant”, “Pregnant wife of Anthony Weiner”, ‘Pregnant wife out of the country“,etc. The main keyword had to be “pregnant”, which he found distasteful, not to mention a bit invasive. His personal feelings were being “sad” that he and other journalists had to run the story at all.

The reason I watch Howard Kurtz every Sunday is because he’s a journalist who’s not afraid to force his profession to look at itself and study its practices. Are they hurting or helping society, for example? Did they screw up, get the facts, run a story with no proof, or forcefully turn a weak story into something sensational? This was the first time I saw search engine optimization (SEO) or the practice of adding keywords mentioned by professional journalists, although it’s routinely taught to them. They and their editing staffs are trained to make their stories rank in leading news outlets such as Google News, stay on top and become known as reputable sources by search engines.

So what happens when their editors force them to slant a story a certain way just to get rank? Has link equity now become a goal for journalists? If journalists are unhappy with the reasons behind choosing certain keywords suggested for usage by their editors and publishers, should they have the right to decline and on what grounds?

#2 jonbey

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 01:43 PM

So what happens when their editors force them to slant a story a certain way just to get rank? Has link equity now become a goal for journalists? If journalists are unhappy with the reasons behind choosing certain keywords suggested for usage by their editors and publishers, should they have the right to decline and on what grounds?


I don't think it is any different from the days of print dominance when editors would chose words to get people's attention in the shops and news stands. Newspapers have always twisted or exaggerated the truth to draw in more readers, SEO is not much different really.

#3 jocelyn

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 04:06 PM

A little thing can be turned into a big one just because they wanna get ratings. Sensation news needs a carrier, and the web is a good one... better with the kids than TV it seems now. Integrity is not really the aim of big industries, it's profit... calculated by the amount of auditors and visitors generating sales. We hunt keyphrases and so do they... kind of normal... no?

The trouble is when they use Celine's kids, violence, and other personal stuff to make news, sometimes just to fill gaps... I like to be a nobody and to be able to trip without making the news... :)

At one point, they have to take ordinary things and make them extraordinary... some shows even sound like this... http://www.youtube.c...D1FAE5AB7596C5D

#4 jonbey

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 06:56 AM

That was good. Made my day.

#5 DCrx

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 09:35 AM

Page rank as the new ratings wars. Who would have thunk it.

Once again the pristine and virtuous 'net sullied by letting humans on. I for one am shocked, SHOCKED that human nature is going on ...right under our very noses.

Is there an alternative? Well, one alternative might be writing stories which deserve to get linked, and rise in rank because people find them worth linking to.

But the SEO's kids don't go to college that way.

Senasionalism is supposed to get people to watch. Keyword stuffing simply makes users hit the back button. That's the problem with one metric thinking.

Edited by DCrx, 13 June 2011 - 09:37 AM.


#6 sansonj72

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 10:12 AM

They should be forced to right the truth- no right side or left side- just the plain or truth. Now with key phrases being issued- if it is plain old truth then who cares, but if they are writing about Pepsi and using something about chevy - well then they are in the wrong.



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