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How is this journalism? It doesn't even tell you the damn patent number.



At the top of the gray bar there's a "Contact BBC News" link. (Not the "contact us" link at the very bottom of the page.)

For this article it's here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/20039682

Please do let them know that they need to start linking, or at least naming, documents that they're talking about. They do it all the time and I agree it's annoying. They'll discuss a medical study and not have any links to it. Sometimes they don't even name the report nor where it appeared.


When I see examples of that my nature is to immediately question the validity of the story.


This is how journalism operates in the internet. I don't think I've ever seen a report that had an actual working external link in it. I don't even click links in news articles anymore because they inevitably lead to some bullshit more news of this type on our site meta-page.


Given that only those currently affiliated with a university can read medical studies, I can't blame them too much for that one.


The portion of the BBCs audience who actually want to know the patent number is tiny, and the portion who would actually understand the patent itself is a tiny fraction of those, so why include it? Those who are interested can go out and find it themselves without much difficulty.

The job of a journalist isn't report every fact, it's to cut through the noise, take something that happened and condense it into something that their audience will read and can understand, without distorting it.

This article does exactly that. That's why it's journalism.


For the information content, this article could have been two sentences long.


No, it could have been one sentence long, which is why the opening section is only one sentence long. To quote directly from the article (the first sentence, in bold):

> Apple faces a bill of $862m (£565m) after losing a patent lawsuit.

It then goes on to describe what products the patent covers, when the patent was filed, what it does, what other companies have been sued infringing, what the outcomes was, what the likely outcomes is going to be in this case and the factors that are likely to have an effect. It then describes some recent related news which may be on interest.

It's a perfectly fine article for the audience it is aimed it. Most people don't give a shit about the details - not everyone reads HN.

The BBC have a very predictable style. Open with a very short (single sentence) summary that covers the main points. If the reader is interested, they read on, if not, they've already read enough to get the gist. As the article goes on, it will go into more detail, sometimes repeating what has been said earlier but going into more depth.

Stop reading BBC articles if you don't like their style, but that's what the BBC do, they are very good at it, and are respected world-wide because of it.


All I'm asking for is that they link to the patent (if it's a patent case) or the study (if it's a report on a study).

Have a look at this story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34520631

That has an inline hyperlink to a previous story. It has a list at the end of the article to other articles about the same topic. And it also has a related Internet links.

So a link to the patent could be:

_The patent, filed in 1998_

Or it could be listed in related Internet information.

Most people aren't going to use it, but it saves time for everyone who does use it. And for medical studies it's probably important to get people into the habit of trying to read and understand them.


> It then goes on to describe what products the patent covers, when the patent was filed, what it does, what other companies have been sued infringing, what the outcomes was, what the likely outcomes is going to be in this case and the factors that are likely to have an effect.

Oddly enough, they got lots of these things wrong. Here's the patent in question: http://www.google.com/patents/US5781752

1. It was filed in 1996, not 1998.

2. The patent itself doesn't say anything about power efficiency (although perhaps that was argued at trial), so I'm not sure where they got that.

3. The article says it "relates to use of the technology in the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus - but an additional lawsuit making the same claim against Apple's newest models, the 6S and 6S Plus, has also been filed." That may be true, but it's so vague as to be pretty information-free.

The whole article reads like it was written by someone who doesn't know anything about patents, doesn't care to learn, and just uncritically copied information he read elsewhere. That isn't journalism.


> they got lots of these things wrong

> 1. It was filed in 1996, not 1998.

Ok they used 'filed' when they should have used 'issued' or 'granted'. That's technically incorrect although unlikely to matter to layreader.

> The patent itself doesn't say anything about power efficiency (although perhaps that was argued at trial), so I'm not sure where they got that.

It's argued explicitly in the complaint. Not sure how you count this as something they got wrong since they're right just because it's not footnoted to a level you're comfortable with.

> That may be true, but it's so vague as to be pretty information-free.

It is in fact true and I don't find it vague at all. What information do you think need to be included in an article pointed at the casual reader?


> That's technically incorrect although unlikely to matter to layreader.

Details are important. Getting them wrong makes a journalist look sloppy and incompetent.

> It's argued explicitly in the complaint.

Is it? I withdraw this point if so. At a quick skim, the patent doesn't seem to have anything to do with power efficiency, but if it's in the complaint, I can't fault BBC for mentioning it in the article.

> What information do you think need to be included in an article pointed at the casual reader?

I dunno. Maybe this is the right level of detail for the casual reader. It seems extremely, uselessly broad to me though.




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