Last week I picked up a copy of The Exponent. With a practiced eye, I skimmed through it, searching the headlines for signs of scandal and sensationalism. Was President Cruzado being indicted for embezzling? Had a drug trafficking ring been uncovered in Greek Life? Had another cow been discovered in the bell tower of Montana Hall? Sadly there was nothing of the sort. I instantly grew bored and threw the copy in the trash where it belonged.
I would not have thought any more of it if I had not gone home and logged onto Facebook. As I browsed through my newsfeed, I noticed a trend. It was clogged with hundreds of links bearing facile, sensationalistic titles, something many people call ‘clickbait’. It was prolefeed at its very finest. I was then struck with an epiphany.
At that moment I realized that this is exactly the model that our humble little newspaper needs to embrace. Over a century ago, mega-publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst engaged in puerile journalism, attempting to beat each other by using buzzwords and by appealing to their reader’s primal fears and desires. Their media campaigns were so successful that they may have inadvertently started the Spanish-American War.
That, dear reader, is true power. Forget journalistic integrity, which is old fashioned and bland. I want stories with muscle, steel and sex appeal. The Exponent should not be reporting the news, they should be creating the news. Some might say that that sort of approach would be compromising the truth, to which I would reply with a resounding shrug of indifference.
After all, people don’t care about the truth, they want excitement. Honestly, who in their right mind would want to read something that might cause them to think and feel, when they could instead dull their senses to the abject horror of the human condition by reading banal, meandering articles without a point?
Yessir, that is what the public wants, and who are we, the humble media, to deny them?
Bearing that in mind, I propose that The Exponent abandon its efforts to be a credible paper and instead appeal to the lowest common denominator. We are a college rag after all, so no one could fault us for doing so. Reality is too real for the people, and if someone has to step forward and create a new reality to appeal to their animal instincts, it might as well be us.
Editors note: this article appeared in the March 31, 2016 edition of the Exponent, the “Excrement”. The edition is the annual April Fool’s edition of the paper. All articles are satire. For questions and comments please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (406)994-2224.