[CAMPUS COMMENTARY]‘I’ can ‘C’ what ‘A’ news Web site should ‘B’Sometimes it seems the only information we find on popular news Web sites are stories about entertainers whose identities are supposed to be disguised by alphabetic nicknames, as in this example:
The famous singer “A” was a naughty troublemaker when she was in high school. She once dated another famous singer named “B,” but broke up with him to date another, named “C.”
There you have it ― a typically dubious story that was reportedly the most-viewed item on the day it was posted.
Instead of useful information for Internet users, gossip about the private lives of celebrities seem to fill the pages of many news portals.
As a result, many seem to have developed an inordinate addiction to the personal lives and relationships of celebrities.
I had dinner recently with an older college friend who now works as a teacher. The main topic during our dinner was that a new singer, “D,” lost more than 30 kilograms (66 pounds) before her debut show. I was a bit shocked, because I thought this friend would be the last person to gossip about celebrities known only by letters of the alphabet.
This might be the result of celebrity-based news that fills the pages of news sites. I am really sorry to see how it is affecting us.
News portals are second to none in bringing news to Internet users as fast as possible. However, the flood of news (and “news” of dubious value) ends up causing many young Internet users to spend way too much time on useless information. When we are using the portal sites we don’t really think much about what we are reading.
I want to point out some problems with these news portals.
Entertainment trivia makes up the bulk of “news” an the popular sites. Stories about entertainers and television stars get the most hits from viewers. Singer “E” bought a huge house for his father and an actor named “F” opened a restaurant in a posh part of town . . . How can this “news” be helpful to us? But people seem to like it. They like it even more when the stories are more titillating.
Headlines on portal sites usually look very tempting. But the articles are usually different from the headlines. The cryptic nicknames for celebrities are just a gimmick.
Online viewers write responses, daetgeul, to the articles, usually guessing the real names of the celebrities. Another gimmick.
To be honest, I also log into portal sites and browse through the day’s juiciest entertainment news. Almost by habit I click on the entertainment section of these sites.
I have tried changing my browser home page to open to a more “academic” page or to a site that would give me more helpful information. But before long, I find my way back to the portals that dish out the latest information on why “G” had to break up with “H” after all.
Soon I find myself chatting online with a friend about how “J” was in a relationship with “K” for several years before meeting “L.”
It is a big dilemma. My hope is that portal sites would provide viewers with more productive information and make their offerings more useful and worth reading.
* The writer is the editor of The Argus, the English newspaper of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
by Lee Sang-hee
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