Wednesday 27 November 2013

Editorial: Bristol Traffic is not Anti-Bristol-Post

Another day, another batch of tweets and comments confidently claiming that Bristol Traffic is in fact anti Bristol Post.

In fact, some of our staff peruse the web site -and at least one person has actually bought a copy.

We too consider ourselves part of the local press.

So why are we accused of being anti-Evening Post?

We think it's partly because we we dare to acknowledge that in order to gain advertising revenue and retail sales, the Evening Post needs to generate local controversy stories. Anything against the local council -now the local mayor- is good, along with anything "anti-progress", such as campaigners against : Ashton Gate being turned into a supermarket, the Bristol Rovers ground becoming a supermarket, the South Link Road turning South Bristol into a traffic jam. But there aren't enough of those stories, and when there is a lull in the "Ferguson wants to make parking in bus lanes a crime" story, the post has to fall back to anti-cycling articles to generate interest.

We think it's partly because sometimes we use it as a source to identify "mad local campaigner of the week" stories which are printed unquestioningly in it, like the person campaigning against a traffic light that is the sole cause of traffic jams Whiteladies Road. Our defensible datasets do have the misfortune of showing up such people as ill-informed idiots without enough foundational knowledge of how queues work to be allowed near traffic planning.

There are two types of Bristol Post article. There are those written by human beings, which can be interesting and balanced.

Then there are those that are machine generated by taking a set of prewritten sentences, selecting a proper subset of this and then printing them in a random order. These are the articles we are against, because we can create them ourselves and gets boring after a while. And being so repetitive, they even destroy the value of our Evening Post Bingo Cards.

The problem with the human-written articles is that they are so petty they actually cause your brain cells to commit suicide, its like reading a Thomas the Tank Engine novel to a three year old for the seventeenth time. Not only that, they are so out of date, as we showed about their "shocking" discovery that some parking bays near the university were going to be turned into bike buildouts.

And as their number of editorial staff dwindle to a number that can be counted on one hand, they end up having to actually use stories from us and other sites leading to a lag where you can read about Arley Hill texting on our site, or wait a week and get the evening post stance. Why go to the BEP to read about Colston Hill's bike lane improvements, when Wheels On A Bike covered it three weeks earlier.

Frankly, we can't be bothered to read either kind of article these days:, be they machine generated, or human generated off borrowed online content. They are beyond salvation.

1 comment:

bsk said...

I can only echo the sentiment. Not much more to say about a sad reality unfortunately.