Fake News Sites are Taking Over

This is miles from the typical subject matter I blog about here, but it’s something I really feel the need to climb the soapbox and speak about.

It’s getting harder and harder to find legitimate news sites on the Internet.  They exist, but if you use an aggregator like Google News, they’re interspersed with a growing number of what appear to be bogus sites whose “news stories” have a generic or unoriginal sound to them.   The stories are surrounded on all sides by a blizzard of tasteless banners, ads, and links that take you to other equally useless sites.  In just a few minutes, following links from Google news, I was taken to about twenty sites (names ommitted) that easily fell ito that category, and had certain things in common:

1. Odd, generic or unusual names.

2. News stories that report things in a broadly general way that sounds suspect.

3. News stories that seem like thinly-veiled rewrites of stories you’ve read elsewhere.

4. Ads above, and below, and on either side, popping up over the top of, and often, crowbarred into the midst of, the news story.

5. Bad grammar, and authors for whom, it would appear, English is a second (or third) language.

6. Similar page design, with a very generic looking top banner, and a slogan that says something broad and vague, like “All the news for you.”

I plan to write to Google News and ask them to do a better job of screening their news sources.  They’re wasting everybody’s time directing people to sites that are little more than advertising vehicles.