About two months ago Clementine Ford and I had a brief conversation on Twitter, which is reproduced below.
Since then, I have been languidly gathering examples for Ford to illustrate my claim that a significant amount of Daily Life‘s content has been recycled from other, more interesting, websites. Here are three example that demonstrate an obvious pattern of behaviour.
On 17 February 2013 Salon published an article about large labia and labia pride. Jezebel ran it on 18 February and Slate on 20 February. Ford paraphrased from the previous articles and Daily Life ran her version on 26 February.
On 14 April 2013 Salon published an article about men who fake orgasms. This was quickly rehashed and Daily Life published their version just before midnight on 16 April.
On 21 March 2013 Daily Dot published an article about the sexist response to the revelation that the founder of a popular Facebook page about science is a woman. Daily Life didn’t get around to recycling that one until 18 April.
My Twitter critique of Daily Life was not an attack on its writers, such as Ford. It was a criticism of the content strategy adopted by Fairfax that positions Daily Life as an anthology of rehashed content that readers may have already seen elsewhere days or weeks ago.
Rather than creating its own original content, Fairfax has its writers reproducing banal réchauffé. It’s lazy journalism and only benefits readers with little curiosity or willingness to browse other sites. It seems implausible that the Age is deliberately targeting these least curious and most passive readers, but perhaps it is true. I’m not in that cohort, which is why I find Daily Life boring.
This is further evidence that Fairfax is in a terminal death spiral. Staff are being dismissed in their hundreds, the share price is well below AU$1 and their editorial strategies appear to consist of rehashing journalism from elsewhere and plagiarising user generated content from social media.
When will they admit that the age of industrial media is over? Not yet, apparently. Fairfax is still treating readers as if it owns them, as if they have to accept what it offers them because there are no other sources of content.
Except there are now many other sources. Many Australian readers are consuming content from sources from throughout the world and they don’t need the increasingly antiquated and parochial Age and Daily Life to summarise it for them.