My personal New Year’s resolutions are usually epic fails, so this year I’m making a dozen resolutions for the media, starting with...
1. No more “Breaking News.” This resolution is especially important if you work at a cable news channel where the term has lost whatever smidgen of relevance it once had, and is now indistinguishable from what used to be called, simply, “News.”
2. Tweets are not news. If Trump tweets that Bush is “Dumb as a rock,” don’t rush to make a story out of it. If you must, remember, it’s not Breaking and it’s not News.
3. Skip social media questions at debates. We get it: news organizations are enamored with social media, but you don’t need to prove it by interrupting a presidential debate with a random Facebook question from “Joe in Michigan.”
4. #EnoughWiththeHashtags. Speaking of social media, resolve to ease up on meaningless hashtags. Things like #JeSuis are #Nolongercool.
5. Dump the “7-Day Forecast.” Face it, even with modern technology, meteorologists still struggle to predict tomorrow’s weather. The “long range” outlook? It’s no better than a coin flip. And Accuweather’s “45-day forecast”? LOL.
6. Avoid mid-season TV cliffhangers. One cliffhanger each spring is okay for dramatic series. But “The Walking Dead” and “The Blacklist” and so many others wear viewers out with contrived “Fall Finales” that leave us hanging from November to January.
7. Eliminate all commercials for FanDuel and DraftKings.
8. Don’t pollute the streams. Paid streaming services like Netflix and Amazon shouldn’t become dumping grounds for “originals” featuring good stars in bad shows. We’re talking about you Bill Murray, Bob Odenkirk and Aziz Ansari.
9. Quit being so hyper with links. Much of what’s published nowadays is digital, and one benefit is linking to sources. Thing is, too many links make for unattractive displays and give readers headaches due to linkophobia.
10. Don’t cop to cursing. Maybe Jon Stewart gets the blame for teasing us with too many faux bleeps. It’s now infected almost everyone on TV – from John Oliver to the cast of SNL. A bad joke doesn’t get funnier when propped up with bleeped words.
11. Stick with terms we know. Media get carried away when new expressions that few of us understand enter the zeitgeist. FOMO (fear of missing out), No Chill (too uptight to chill out), Squad (your group or clique) – they’re all uncoo (an adjective used to describe something that’s uncool).
12. Play the hits. Next December, radio stations should resolve to stick with original versions of holiday favorites. There’s nothing jolly about a Seth MacFarlane cover of a Bing Crosby Christmas classic.
Also, resolve to literally never use “epic fails” in an opening sentence. And, in 2016, don’t ever, under any circumstance, even if it fits, say or write “literally.
Peter Funt is a writer and speaker