The Twitterization of Print

The Washington Post has a story today saying you shouldn’t eat lots and lots of French fries—dietary advice that won’t surprise many readers but in the Post’s Style section it became a front-page feature with the headline, “French fries could kill you, a new study says. But don’t panic!” The jump headline: “Frequent fry-eating is linked to death.”

It’s drawn from a study published last week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and to make it a talked-about Style story the writer, Tim Carman, got the National Potato Council to knock down the study as having “significant methodological flaws.” The study’s  lead author, Nicola Veronese, a scientist with the National Research Council in Padova, Italy, admitted that the finding was from a study of osteoarthritis patients and they were asked only to fill out a questionnaire. The author added,  “Other studies are needed of course.”

Pretty thin science journalism but what stopped me was Carman ending the piece with “You’re welcome, everyone,” that cute Twitter phrase that tells that the reader I’m sure you’d want to thank me for this.

In feature writing, the opening and ending are important. Carman’s lede tried hard: “Hey, you, the dude reading this story over a pile of French fries: Back slowly away from the crispy spuds. They’re out to get you.” But that ending—not what you’d expect from the Washington Post.
The digital version of the Post story ends with “You’re welcome, Internet” with the print version ending “You’re welcome, everyone.”






  1. Neta ogami says

    I’m 100% sure you realise this is the work of my least favorite demographic, The millennials.

  2. A little trite. But the writer’s trying and, just maybe, didn’t have an editor to work with him for 10 minutes on the ending.

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