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posted by cmn32480 on Monday March 30 2015, @04:04PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the can-we-get-this-on-all-the-pages dept.

Lily Hay Newman reports that when big news stories evolve into tragedies and people are flocking to read the latest bulletins online, many major newspapers have measures in place so there isn't a dancing Geico newt competing with dire news. The NYT confirmed that the site has a manual switch that can put individual articles in "sensitivity" mode. The settings seem to be either standard, "noads," or finally "tragedy," depending on the content of the story.

In the case of Germanwings Flight 4U 9525, the Times eventually upgraded to tragedy. "It’s interesting in part because it’s almost an acknowledgement that ads are invasive and uncomfortable," says Parker Higgins referring to the meta tag: meta property="ad_sensitivity" content="noads". "There are no Google results for the tag, so it looks like it hasn’t been documented," says Parker, "but it seems like a pretty low-tech way to keep possibly insensitive ads off a very sensitive story—an admirable effort." After all, the Internet is filled with lists of unfortunate ad placements, and the worst ones are probably upbeat ads intruding on solemn moments. "In these types of tragedy cases, it’s an editorial decision that we make," says a spokeswoman for CNN Digital.

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by nitehawk214 on Monday March 30 2015, @04:26PM

    by nitehawk214 (1304) on Monday March 30 2015, @04:26PM (#164337)

    But I love unfortunate ad placements [bbspot.com].

    --
    "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 2) by The Archon V2.0 on Monday March 30 2015, @09:10PM

      by The Archon V2.0 (3887) on Monday March 30 2015, @09:10PM (#164483)

      I think it's safe to say that the "sensitivity" in question is not the sensitivity of the audience or the editors, but how sensitive the advertisers are. Vacation destinations, travel agents, and airlines having ads alongside news articles of their customers dying in a plane crash would spread across Reddit and such like wildfire, and the damage would be ongoing (given their penchant for recycling) and never completely undone.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Geezer on Monday March 30 2015, @04:35PM

    by Geezer (511) on Monday March 30 2015, @04:35PM (#164342)

    This cursory bow to decorum by the print media sites seems to be 100% opposite of the broadcast sites, which see every tragedy as an advertising bonanza.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Monday March 30 2015, @04:56PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Monday March 30 2015, @04:56PM (#164358)

      The thing about doing news over a wider geographic area is that you can always find something happening somewhere to tell whatever kind of narrative you want to tell.

      You want to pump up an image of black men being scary and dangerous? Chances are approximately 100% that you can find somewhere in the US, somebody sympathetic murdered by a black man today. (You could have done the same thing with white men too.) You want to pump up an image of black men as victims of police misconduct? Chances are approximately 100% that you can find somewhere in the US a black man with a sympathetic story of police injustice that is relevant today. You want to push the idea that global warming is a big deal? Show the places with unusually high temperatures. You want to push the idea that global warming is a fraud? Show the places with unusually low temperatures. And so forth.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Geezer on Monday March 30 2015, @05:15PM

        by Geezer (511) on Monday March 30 2015, @05:15PM (#164368)

        Well, yeah. Cops and black males kill people every day. So do asian women and, for all I know, so do hispanic transvestites. Any media outlet can scrape the wires for fodder to feed the narrative du jour.

        However, the story (I believe) is about late-breaking tragedies of national/international interest rather than the every-day hype and faux outrage of broadcast news.

        I was too stunned to notice at the time, but does anyone remember if the networks took commercial breaks (not FCC-mandated station IDs) as the twin towers were burning?

        • (Score: 4, Funny) by dyingtolive on Monday March 30 2015, @05:25PM

          by dyingtolive (952) on Monday March 30 2015, @05:25PM (#164369)

          I was in high school at the time. I don't think whatever channel they put on had any. It might have been one of the 24/7 stations though.

          To be fair, I also was waking up from my Spanish class nap because the TV was on, and idly wondering to myself how stupid you had to be to fly a plane into such an obviously large building. I don't think I understood that it was the intent until I got home and had it explained to me.

          It also seemed a little strange that we were getting out of school at 11:00 or so because of something that happened halfway across the country, and that gas prices were over twice what they should have been, but hey, I was out of school.

          --
          Don't blame me, I voted for moose wang!
        • (Score: 2) by scruffybeard on Monday March 30 2015, @05:34PM

          by scruffybeard (533) on Monday March 30 2015, @05:34PM (#164377)

          I was too stunned to notice at the time, but does anyone remember if the networks took commercial breaks (not FCC-mandated station IDs) as the twin towers were burning?

          I recall putting the news on at work within 15 minutes of the first reports, then going home about an hour or so later, watching the news well into the late afternoon before any commercials were aired.

        • (Score: 2) by el_oscuro on Monday March 30 2015, @09:13PM

          by el_oscuro (1711) on Monday March 30 2015, @09:13PM (#164486)

          I don't remember any commercials for at least the first 3 or 4 days afterwards.

          --
          SoylentNews is Bacon! [nueskes.com]
          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:47AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:47AM (#164611)

            No commercials for 4 days. [google.com]

            -- gewg_

    • (Score: 1) by WillR on Monday March 30 2015, @06:10PM

      by WillR (2012) on Monday March 30 2015, @06:10PM (#164395)
      In cases like a plane crash, the ads are probably less bad than the content in between. There's an expectation that any sort of disaster is going to get full-time coverage from the moment the story breaks, and a lot of time to fill before there are any real facts to report.
      • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 31 2015, @01:53AM

        by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @01:53AM (#164595)

        There's an expectation that any sort of disaster is going to get full-time coverage from the moment the story breaks

        Where the heck does that expectation of TV news stations come from? It seems to ignore 3 basic facts about situations like this:
        1. The vast majority of viewers can do absolutely nothing useful about it. Those that can do something useful will be informed in other ways (e.g. first responders will be called by their bosses to get to work). Therefor, the benefit of that "full-time coverage" is at best essentially 0, and at worst negative (because news organizations frequently make mistakes in situations like this).
        2. The news organization has basically no expertise in the matter at hand, and is slowing down the efforts of those who do have expertise by trying to get hold of them to issue statements.
        3. The loved ones of those affected will also be contacted by other means. Meanwhile, you've created a lot of fear among everyone who thinks that their loved ones could have been among those affected, and if it's a big enough disaster you also just jammed the communications networks to the affected area as millions of panicky idiots call anyone they can think of near where it happened, making it harder for emergency crews to get the information they need.

        They really need to get to a model where they do this instead:
        1. State the basics of what happened. Leave it on a ticker at the bottom if necessary.
        2. Provide basic advice for what viewers should or should not do in response. For example, advise viewers to avoid an area, or board up windows before a storm arrives.
        3. Let those who have the responsibility and training to respond do their jobs.
        4. Tell everyone more detailed and useful information when you have it.

        A lot of news organizations have decided that being first is more valuable than being right, and that idea does a great deal of harm.

        --
        The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
        • (Score: 2) by NoMaster on Tuesday March 31 2015, @07:55AM

          by NoMaster (3543) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @07:55AM (#164689)

          There's an expectation that any sort of disaster is going to get full-time coverage from the moment the story breaks

          Where the heck does that expectation of TV news stations come from?

          It comes from the TV news stations themselves. It makes them seem important, relevant, and leaves you with the subtle impression that they - and they alone - are 'your one reliable source for all breaking news'.

          Those of us who are (a) older, and (b) not so old that our memories are fading, remember a time when they didn't drop everything and go to non-stop rolling coverage everytime some Timmy fell down some well...

          --
          Live free or fuck off and take your naïve Libertarian fantasies with you...
          • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 31 2015, @06:52PM

            by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @06:52PM (#164957)

            they didn't drop everything and go to non-stop rolling coverage everytime some Timmy fell down some well...

            ... although some have come to the conclusion that there's not *that* much difference between Wolf Blitzer's reporting and Lassie's!

            --
            The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @06:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @06:40PM (#164417)

      It is also interesting in this case that they are more worried about brand image than proper journalism. Those unfortunate ad placements are just sort of 'woops' but not something you should really be worried about? If your brand is more important than the story then something is wrong with your priorities.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @05:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @05:35PM (#164379)

    When and where are they evaluated? In particular, do they take effect if those tags are inserted into the document at the browser? Or by an intermediate proxy?

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by wisnoskij on Monday March 30 2015, @07:54PM

      by wisnoskij (5149) <jonathonwisnoskiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday March 30 2015, @07:54PM (#164449)

      Well they way they are doing it it sounds like they just have some CSS styles to filter out the ads. Otherwise it would just be a php variable or something of that nature.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @08:37PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @08:37PM (#164462)

    I'd automatically attach this to the DOM of every web page, but there's no point because I already run adblockers