Stupid news story

There’s no such thing as a slow news day. There’s a war in Iraq, another in Afganistan, a genocide in Sudan, a presidential campaign, and probably some right wing blowhard having fun in a public restroom somewhere.

So what the hell was the Times thinking with this one? The premise appears to be that blogging is so stressful, it can KILL!!111!one!! In fact the title is “In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop”.

Let’s examine that story. The premise is that some bloggers work so hard, under such pressure, that they just drop dead. There are many dangerous jobs out there—commercial fishing and coal mining come to mind. Epidemiologists can figure these things out by collecting data. Reporters can read epidemiology reports and tell us all about them.

Or they can just make this shit up.

According to the “journalist”:

They work long hours, often to exhaustion…. [They] are toiling under great physical and emotional stress created by the around-the-clock Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment…. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly.

Further down he qualifies his comment:

To be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging, and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an epidemic. There is also no certainty that the stress of the work contributed to their deaths. But friends and family of the deceased, and fellow information workers, say those deaths have them thinking about the dangers of their work style.

Let’s compare this to my residents. They are working 80 hours a week, making life and death decisions every minute, and getting pennies for it. They are exposed to dangerous pathogens. I’ve seen one of my residents die, but my anecdote hardly qualifies as data.

To add to his very informative story, the writer quotes one blogger as saying, “I haven’t died yet.”

This is crap journalism. It tells us nothing, and implies a public health problem where none may exist.

I do a lot of bad writing, but I’m an amateur. I’d still be embarrassed to have written this piece, and as an editor, I’d feel a little silly for letting it through.

Anyway, I’m not sure how dangerous blogging could be. I do it all the time, and as they say, “I haven’t died yet.”


  1. I think what they are trying to say, is that the only good blogger is a dead blogger.

    Makes sense, really, from their point of view. Every time someone deserts the NYT for a blog, they can say, Oh, the blogger can’t be taking their work seriously, because they aren’t dead yet.

    To gain credibility for their message, though, they need to kill a few of their own, to prove that working for the NYT is a real job. Maybe the author of that article will be prepared to take one for the team?

  2. On the other hand, it’s reassuring that the ineptitude in journalism extends throughout the system. At least, it helps explain the fascination with the Kardashians.

  3. Within a year, Merck will release their newest product, Blogotrol. They will be advertising it on all 3 major networks as well as cable outlets. It will reduce incidence of SDBB (Sudden Death By Blogging)by as much as 95%. Side effects will include night blindness and priapism, but those effected are hesitant to report the symptoms because they are afraid it is actually from sitting up all night looking at internet porn.

  4. Of course if 2 blogger a year die from blogging, a 95% reduction means….

  5. The Times sucks shit. It fills its pages with copy-pasted AP and Reuters reports, editorials from insane demented fucking wackaloons like Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, and Bill Kristol, bullshit “lifestyle” pieces about the concerns of wealthy upper-west-sider ladies-who-lunch, and fake-ass ZOMFG!!!11!!!! “health” stories like this one. It isn’t even fit for lining bird cages.

  6. “as much as 95%” were just the preliminary estimates. It was fast tracked in order to address the pending epidemic of SDBB and the results of the double blind placebo controlled studies won’t be available until at least 2012.

  7. Have to ask Shelly about that, PP. I don’t have birds.

  8. and they still cannot figure out why newspaper reading is declining.

  9. Oh, no! You mean people who spend a lot of time SITTING IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER (and not getting a lot of physical exercise, perhaps) can die of CORONARIES!?

    What next? Epileptics having seizures? Diabetics going into comas!? Where will it END?!

  10. “Let’s compare this to my residents. They are working 80 hours a week, making life and death decisions every minute, and getting pennies for it.”

    As the husband of such a resident, this just makes me bitter.

    As far as I can tell, the main reason why we continue to work residents the way we do, despite hordes of evidence that having people work on next to no sleep is no better than allowing them to drink on the job, is the ever compelling “but this is the way we’ve always done it, and I had to go through it…”

  11. We’ve made great strides, especially in getting the work week down to eighty hours, and limiting the length of shifts.

    Oh, and good to see you around, Jabba!

  12. yogi-one

    “…the only good blogger is a dead blogger”

    Hahaha. You haven’t died yet, but this blog is killing me (my sides are in stitches already)!

  13. natural cynic

    Ah, if only it were true.

    Matt Drudge, take your place at the head of the line.

  14. Fear sells. Advertisers seem to have co-opted sex for their own purposes, so if the news media for whatever reason can’t peddle the porn they have to go for the next visceral response: “Blogging may kill you.” Ooo, I’m scared! I’ve got to read all about it now! (Or, for those luddites who shy away from technology, then it’s “Oh, good, more of those evil bloggers will die and put me out of my misery!”)

  15. Good catch. You beat me to it! I was cogitating on this silly article even as you were blogging it!

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