WotD: Trollumnist

It used to be that to get your own column in a broadsheet, you needed to add some value. Expertise, skill in interpreting social and political developments, or a distinguished history as a journalist were rewarded with a bit more space in the paper. There, you could spin out a longer-form piece analysing burning issues in a little more depth, or you could even act as an advocate for things that weren’t on the public’s radar.

As the newspaper business model heads south, though, we’ve been subjected to the rise of what we might christen the “trollumnist” — the writer who simply “trolls” in a multichannel, multimedia environment.

— “If I Make You Angry Enough, Maybe You’ll Keep Reading” by Jason Wilson in New Matilda

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to the opinion pages of flailing newspaper websites or soap opera US cable television opinion shows… consider the newer, online, journalism-lite outfits which employ trollumnists to crank up page views and ad impressions.

It’s a terrifying media strategy: Find a niche — perhaps even an entire community, with all the politics and tragedy, highs and lows that entails — choose some regular targets for fæces-flinging, troll the living fuck out of them, and reap the blood money reward.

I’m sure my friends in various tech and politics communities will find this word instantly useful. A wonderful addition to the vocabulary for those fighting the good fight against fear, uncertainty, doubt, lies and bile.

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6 Responses to WotD: Trollumnist

  1. Brenda says:

    nice use of tags 😉

  2. TheGZeus says:

    On a lighter note, if you’re going to use archaic spellings, you might as well go the whole nine and use ligatures. `fæces’
    I do.

  3. Jeff Waugh says:

    @Brenda: Wondered if anyone would notice. 😉

    @TheGZeus: Round these parts we call it “English spelling”. Ligatures are certainly more awesome, however. Fixing that bug now!

  4. /\/\/\/ says:

    *Great* word, but the strategy is nothing new — isn’t this what John Dvorak has been doing all these years?

  5. Jeff Waugh says:

    Yes. If ever there were a single word to summarise John C. Dvorak, it would have to be this one. Although “douchebag” is still competitive.

  6. mattj says:

    This could also apply to everyone who writes for the Daily Mail/Express here in the UK.

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