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.”