Curtis, Drew 1973-
Curtis, Drew 1973-
Born 1973; married; children: one.
Writer. Founder of Fark.com.
It's Not News, It's Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap as News, Gotham (New York, NY), 2007.
In 1999, Drew Curtis started a Web page titled Fark.com to provide access to what he considered interesting and unusual news from a variety of media outlets, including television and newspapers. Over the years, the Web site grew steadily in popularity, garnering thousands of hits everyday and contributions from a worldwide cadre of fans. Part of the site's huge popularity stems not only from the myriad stories posted on the site but also from "its rewritten headlines and streaming commentary," as noted by Vanessa Bush in Booklist.
Despite the fact that Curtis's Web site relies on a wide range of news, from standard reportage to gossip to mindless and mind-numbing "human interest" stories, Curtis attacks news in almost all its forms in his first book, It's Not News, It's Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap as News. In an interview with Brian Montopoli posted on the CBS News Web site, Curtis noted: "Journalism is straying into entertainment. The lines between serious news segments, news entertainment, and news comedy are blurring. For example, just last week CNN led with a story about a nudist colony trying to attract new members with free beer. What is the intrinsic value of delivering this under the guise of news?"
In his book, Curtis takes a different approach than the standard scolding of the news media to adhere to higher journalistic standards. Instead, Curtis calls for readers to make themselves more informed news consumers by accessing publications and media that do exhibit higher journalists standards and provide in-depth coverage of stories that are important. "In 278 quick pages, It's Not News, It's Fark does more to advance the journalistic art than all the millions spent by the Poynter Institute, the Shorenstein Center, the Nieman Foundation, the Project for Excellence in Journalism, the Columbia Journalism Review and the American Journalism Review, the Committee of Concerned Journalists, the various Annenberg outposts, and the Freedom Forum, combined," wrote Jack Shafer on the Slate Web site.
It's Not News, It's Fark provides criticism of the types of news stories and journalistic approaches that Curtis deems as misleading or just plain bad, such as overdone or widespread seasonal stories (for example, Fourth of July traffic), advertisements that disguise themselves as real articles, and headlines that do not coincide with the corresponding article. He pays special attention to how news organizations make inconsequential events and stories into headline-making news. The author also recounts how he got involved in starting his Web site and includes excerpts from Fark.com.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Advertising Age, July 24, 2006, "Out of Site at AdAge.com," interview with author, p. 12.
Booklist, April 15, 2007, Vanessa Bush, review of It's Not News, It's Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap as News, p. 7.
Publishers Weekly, February 19, 2007, Rachel Deahl, "Gotham Gives a ‘Fark,’" p. 10; March 19, 2007, review of It's Not News, It's Fark, p. 58.
Badmouth.net,http://www.badmouth.net/ (December 24, 2003), John Marcotte, "Interview: Fark's Drew Curtis."
CBS News Web site,http://www.cbsnews.com/ (May 23, 2007), Brian Montopoli, "Fark's Drew Curtis on How ‘News’ Isn't News."
Fark.com,www.fark.com/ (November 26, 2007).
Newmoanyeah.com,http://www.newmoanyeah.com/ (December 1, 2003), Joel Why, "Interview with Drew Curtis, FARKin' Genius."
Slate,http://www.slate.com/ (October 4, 2007), Jack Shafer, "Fark Founder Flattens Fourth Estate."