Joystiq and Cinematical Annoyances
I hate hate hate that Cinematical and Joystiq posts always start with an ‘introductory paragraph’. It’s like they have a certain post- and word-count they need to hit every day, and the result is too much bla-bla-blaing.
I grabbed the intro text for the latest entry on Cinematical:
Few people today remember what Nathan Hale is famous for. Even in my home state of Connecticut, where he’s officially recognized as our State Hero, he is probably often thought of as just another one of the many Revolutionary War patriots we learned about in high school. Perhaps you have a good enough memory to link him with his most famous quote, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” (which may have been actually ripped off from a contemporary play)? Well, don’t worry if you haven’t held on to your history book knowledge; that is what we have Hollywood for. Warner Bros. will be producing a biopic about Hale, based on M. William Phelps’ upcoming book “For the Sake of Liberty: America’s First Spy.”
Here’s how a ‘story’ should be put together: The headline has to grab your attention. The first paragraph has to knock that zinger right out of the park. From there, it’s alright if you start fleshing out the real-world complexity of the situation. But that first paragraph is all important.
Warner Bros. will be producing a biopic about Jonathan Hale, based on M. William Phelps’ upcoming book “For the Sake of Liberty: America’s First Spy.”
Jonathan hale, who is a State Hero in Connecticut—my home state—is perhaps most famous for having said: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”.
A slightly crass example perhaps, but it took us from 131 to 56 words, and the improved clarity is obvious.
And clarity. Is. Everything.
So why do I follow two sites that I obviously get annoyed at whenever I read a story on there? Because gosh-darnnit, they are pretty good otherwise. (Unlike Kataku, which is a great site, but they post about one zillion new things a day, which is impossible to keep up with).
Their problem of course, is that they have me looking at the headline, skimming the text for links, and I’m out.
That’s a problem, me thinks.
PS: I don’t mean to pick on Christopher Campbell, who wrote this particular story, because as far as I can tell—even though I don’t distinguish the writers on these blogs—they all do it.
PPS: Joystiq’s every-story-must-have-amusing-image thing is also getting on my nerves, just so you know… But I get it. It catches the eye, so it works. But it’s annoying.