10 Reasons to Not Read Listicles

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This is at the heart of good news writing.

I just returned from a tech meet up in which we discussed how people “snack” on content. Increasingly, one person asserted, website users only read the headline and lead before emailing the article or moving on.

News rooms also have fewer writers but are expected to churn out five to eight articles a day. This varies from each editor’s style. Across the industry, journalists are feeling the upward pressure that ultimately gave rise to the listicle.

Listicle (n): an article made up of a series of facts, tips,quotations, or examples organized around a particular theme. (About.com)

Here are 10 reasons, humor intended, to shun the use of listicles:

  1. They often lack nuance
  2. They get in the way of real journalism
  3. Numbers suggest order, order suggests hierarchy, and the “10 Reasons” seldom conform to this logic
  4. Kittens do not need text or rankings
  5. Less text means you need fewer writers (anti-job security)
  6. Your editor secretly despises this unabashed degradation of information sharing
  7. You did not major in English or Journalism to now cannibalize the vehicle Chaucer and Joyce used to communicate
  8. They are like a bad date with an attractive person. It feels good to stay but the whole time, you know a better existence is one good decision away.
  9. Reading longer articles gives you an excuse to stay in your pajamas for another hour
  10. They only thing you should snack on is food

Think about that the next time you pen (or hunt and peck) a piece.

Go forth,

Mikhail

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