More “here’s how” and “here’s what” from HuffPo and real journalism

February 27, 2020 • 1:30 pm

Yes, all four of HuffPo’s “personal” pieces today are of the “here’s what” or “here’s how” genre:

But wait! There’s more, on the very same page:

As I’ve written before, this new “hey, dumb-ass, here’s everything you need to know” trope has spread to other papers, including the New York Times (from today’s issue):

Yesterday’s Washington Post:

And from the January 17 Los Angeles Times:

What i want to know is which journalistic Grand Poo-Bah decided that this was the way to pique readers’ interest. Someone started this execrable trend, and they should be roundly trounced.

Don’t bother defending this practice, as it’s indefensible.

26 thoughts on “More “here’s how” and “here’s what” from HuffPo and real journalism

  1. A headline writer decided to include “Here’s what happened” in a headline. You won’t believe what happened next.

  2. {aside}
    Professor Coyne, suggest you desist from reading HuffPo on the Left Bank. Suggest baguette, jambon, Brie St. Angel, and a liter of red on the banks of the Seine. Blood pressure better that way.
    {end aside}

  3. I just noticed a tactic of the use of “here’s” : it suggests that it’s _everything_ that anyone would _ever_ need to know – the Wikipedia of news articles for that topic – the authority on the topic – by cheap use of a mundane word’s contraction.

  4. The New York Times Daily podcast has had a “Here’s what else you need to know today” segment at the end of every episode since it’s launch. I don’t think that was the beginning of that trend, but it may have been for the New York Times.

  5. Since I read this I can’t stop thinking about the piece on the baby with no anus. It almost makes me want to visit the PuffHo…

    Actually, it’s probably better as a mysterious headline.

    1. So sorry to hear about the poor baby sans anus. Maybe Fox News could donate one, since it seems to have plenty to spare.

        1. I thought they often had them at the wrong end!

          Remember (as this is a biology site!) that some organisms do share the same opening … an evolutionary “advantage” for us that I am glad to have …

  6. My own annoying article of the day is this one: https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/27/health/lsd-overdoses-case-studies-wellness/index.html

    Which tells of a woman ingesting 55mg of LSD (apparently thinking it was cocaine) and beyond some vomiting suffered no I’ll effects and was able to kick her opiate habit. It then goes on to say that LSD is relatively non-toxic and that the lethal dose is around 14mg. So I’m left wondering what quantity is wrong.

    The state of science journalism makes me shudder.

    1. The root of the West African Iboga plant has psychedelic properties and has been used as a (mostly black-market) treatment for opiate addiction — ever since a group of Brit junkies stumbled upon its use in the early 1960s.

      In Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, Hunter Thompson (who had read about Ibogaine in a pharmacological journal) wrote a spoof about Maine senator (and then-Democratic presidential campaign frontrunner) Edmund Muskie having partaken of it.

  7. What i want to know is which journalistic Grand Poo-Bah decided that this was the way to pique readers’ interest

    I expect it went the other way around. The grand poo-bah’s noticed that such titles lead to more readership, and jumped on the bandwagon.

  8. “In a world that worships facts and data, this is what I learned fighting for awareness of the lived experience.”
    “(Ten reasons) why my anecdote is more relevant to humankind than your data.”

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