Portlandia mocks aggregated “journalism” today

From a real honest-to-God pitchboard (for journalists) on a national site: 

"Proposal: Daily series of trending news rewrites 
Publisher: Newsmax Media 
Fee: $160 
Urgent?: No

Description: Seeking writers for the section of our website that aggregates and rewrites trending news. Posts on average should take 25-40 minutes, be 300-350 words and we expect eight stories a day in a 6a-3p window (to be expanded soon). We are flexible to shorten days and willing to work with a writer for as few as 4 posts a day (reducing the rate proportionately). Good for writers who want steady work and can commit to 2-3 days per week minimum. Examples of content: newsmax.com/thewire"

My reaction is one of horror. But the incredibly imaginative Portlandia had a better idea — mockery. They really went to town with the ridiculousness of aggregator sites, coining a wonderful/awful new word for a purveyor of such. Not a journalist, a "linkalist." To wit:

"On last Friday’s episode of“Portlandia”, the Portland Tribune was sold to LinxPDX — “a very successful online blog” — and editor George Heely was demoted to “linkalist.”

New owners Trudy (Carrie Brownstein) and Craig (Fred Armisen) meet with the staff and tell them about the paper’s new direction (“we’re just going to lose the whole print thing”).

 “People don’t need articles anymore, and we don’t want to provide things that people don’t care about.”
Craig: “They probably read about every fifth word, so just make it those five words.”

George (played by George Wendt) wants to keep doing real journalism, but he’s told to change his ways.

Trudy: “The site is called LinxPDX; we don’t actually have articles. We have links to other articles.”
Craig: “Think of yourself less of a journalist and more of a linkalist.”
George: “But we can still write stories.”
Trudy: “In your free time you can write all the stories you want.”


The tweet that got "70 million hits."

The tweet that got “70 million hits.”

In the end, George becomes the newsroom hero as his tweet — “Charlize Theron NSFW” — sets a LinxPDX record with “70 million hits.” When a colleague looks at him in disgust, George barks at the guy: “Get off my back, will ya? It’s the future!”

I asked the real Portland Tribune newsroom boss what he thought of the episode and how his newspaper was portrayed.

“I thought it was pretty funny,” says Tribune executive editor Kevin Harden. “And, given the state of the industry, I cringed just a bit because it tickled the truth.'"

[from veteran journalism watcher Romenesko]

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