Clearwater Record-Ewing News

Clickbait.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term as “something, such as a headline, designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink, especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.”

Granted, I went to J-school 30-some years ago, but the purpose of a headline hasn’t changed. Use colorful language to create attention and get to the point.

My favorites tend to include alliteration or plays on words, like “Knights joust locals from tournament” or one of my all-time favorites, “Long-ing for gold,” about OC high jumper Jacob Long winning the state title.

Clickbait, though, that’s a different story.

Lots of promises. Short on delivering anything relevant.

Over the weekend, it seems a major news outlet relied on clickbait to create attention, albeit negative, about the state of Nebraska Coach Scott Frost’s contract.

Perhaps the author of the piece, which focuses on the potential cost of a contract buyout, has insider information. If so he didn’t reference or attribute it in the piece.

Instead, the headline generated a lot of stir amongst Big Red faithful Sunday.

The headline: “Nebraska would owe Scott Frost as much as $26 million if it moves on from coach.”

Huh. I thought a Frost advisory would perpetually be in effect.

While the financial evidence included in the piece is spot on, the fact that someone not associated with the football program is speculating Nebraska’s athletic department is contemplating severing ties with the first-year coach is … well, absurd. 

Even after an 0-6 start.

That would be like me conjecturing Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse will launch a Presidential run in 2024, using nothing but sound clips from Sunday morning talk shows and his appearance on “The View” as fodder.

Won’t happen, folks … but if it does, you heard it here first.

I’m disappointed about the start to what most people considered would be a turnaround season for the ‘Skers. I don’t think anyone realized how deep a divide the team faced. 

Tough to gauge a group’s mentality and work ethic when they were handed tickets to a Kendrick Lamar concert and took the day off from practice, especially when hour-long practice sessions were the norm. 

Let’s not teach young adults about the value of work ethic. Mediocrity was best served at the ice cream stand.

Sprinkles for everyone, baby.

That mindset began to change last December when Frost and Co. landed in #LNK.

It will take our new coach at least seven years to rebuild, not only the strength and depth of the team, but its reputation as a contender.

So, national media outlets, give Coach Frost and Husker fans a break with the bait and switch routine. 

If you’re going to reel in readers with a baited hook, at least grab a quote or two from higher-ups in the athletic department who will corroborate your version of a non-story.

Otherwise, you’re offering nothing more than sensationalism.

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