By NATHAN FULK
Today, it is not as important how you get your news as where you get it. Conglomerates such as Fox and CNN tend to offer near-verbatim accounts of their television reports on their website, though the two might report on an event in a totally different way. Tonight, as I pounded my face against my keyboard in hopes it would spell out a good idea, it occurred to me that my favorite news source might be worth writing about: Drew Curtis’ FARK.com.
FARK is not a weblog, nor a news site proper; it is a “news aggregator.” Users around the world scour their local and national news websites, in search of bizarre, uplifting, newsworthy, ironic, or just plain amusing news stories. More information on what the site is all about can be found here.
The editors of the site select which of these stories to post on their main page throughout the day, accompanying each with a witty description, a link to the story, and a “tag,” which classifies the story so that casual readers can find the sort of news they are looking for. Examples include: amusing, interesting, hero, obvious, sad, scary, photoshop, strange, weird, spiffy, cool, sappy, ironic, asinine and Florida, a tag which was born from the disproportionately bizarre quality of news coming from the Sunshine State.
The entertainment value of this site cannot be understated. While including the big news stories that networks often overlook, or simply move down the page for another celebrity follow-up, FARK makes space for obscure but flavorful information that might otherwise go unnoticed. For example, two stories from today on FARK are about a McDonald’s opening in the Louvre, and a man who accidentally robbed a convenience store.
One downside to the site, if one were to look at it that way, is the issue of credibility. The reasonable reader assumes that all facts on CNN have been verified (even if, on rare occasions, they haven’t) but FARK simply cites the source, without rating its authenticity. All sources are treated equally, though if it is obscure enough, it might just be linked to “Some guy.” In any case, users are encouraged to comment on the stories through the homepage.
FARK offers raw, unverified content, but it doesn’t pretend to know what you should think, and it always surprises you. On the next “slow news day,” when you’re sick of reading about Letterman’s affairs, and running out of time to come up with a blog idea (as I often am), check it out, and see what crazy news has been passing you by.