Monday, July 6, 2009

Dart's Rant Of The Day: Global Grind: News & Information Epicenter To The Hip Hop Nation

This whole incident started back on June 29nd. I was on Twitter discussing the fallout from the 2009 BET Awards and the overall declining quality of damn near everything when the Global Grind Twitter feed began posting these ridiculous news items and tabloid style headlines ad nauseum. I usually either laugh them off or pay them no mind but given recent events (The BET Awards fiasco, the folding of Vibe Magazine, etc.) and the fact that sites like Vlad TV, World Star Hip Hop & and many others pervade the current online landscape people's tolerance for garbage was beginning to wear thin.

I saw a headline from them that read "Solange Flaunts Her Camel Toe at LGBT Pride Parade (Yeah baby)" and I felt a vein in my forehead begin to throb. That typically only happens whenever a commercial for "House Of Payne" or "Meet The Browns" comes on. Exactly a minute later the Global Grind feed ran the following headline "DRAKE PULLS AN R.KELLY AT THE BET AWARDS?! WTF...". At that exact moment I lost it. First off, R. Kelly was caught having sex with underage girls on tape. He was even tried for it. How did this headline get posted? Who wrote it? Do these people at Global Grind have editors? Do they have any standards at all? What exactly is off limits? Myself and a few others on Twitter expressed our disgust with them shortly thereafter.

The Global Grind twitter page operator made the following statement when I complained about their choice of news items and headlines "you do know, that most of the stuff on globalgrind is user submitted right? Like submitted by the actually blog owner?". Holy poor sentence construction, Batman! In any event, I said that was a cop out and I asked if the site had any editors that read these submissions and edited them or even decided what submitted items aren't newsworthy enough to count as site content? If so, who are they and do they have a set level of standards? In short, where do they draw the line? What exactly is too sensational and/or ignorant to post? The response I got floored me "underage girls are dancing on stage while they sing I wanna fck every girl in the world. and ur issue is with the headline?". This clearly was an exercise in futility.

However, the very next entry directed towards Boss Lady, was "most of our headlines are created by the people who submit their items. So that's @lexave". Fine, now I have an actual person I can direct these questions towards. At the same time my DM's & Gmail account were full of messages from people telling me that BlogXilla was also a news editor over at Global Grind (He's actually an Entertainment & Gossip editor (?)). Cool, I'll take these issues up with him as well later. I contacted Lex Ave who also blogs at StraightOuttaNYC about their standards, screening and editing process over at Global Grind as it regards to the headlines they use to draw in readers. No response.

I didn't get one until the next day which read as follows " if you don't like the headline, then don't bother reading it. it's as simple as that.". I disagreed, I'm sure Russell Simmons didn't intend his site to be one that posted garbage in the guise of "news"! I was hit with "I do screen the content. Lil' Wayne & Drake should've done better at screening their show content.". Again, I was confused. Why is she talking about ONE incident. I'm talking about the site as a whole, especially the news items they troll out in order to get hits. Don't they have any integrity or standards I asked? Her answer was disappointing to say the least "I saw something & said something. You don't have agree at all. And as far "integrity & standards", hit up with Weezy & Drake". Wow. She then hit me with "Thank you for your suggestion and I'll take it into consideration on the next posts. In the meantime, check out". I just got "buh bye'd", son!

I was really confused now because if Global Grind's news feed contained no actual hard news items and the only people I could find that were identified as "news editors" were gossip or entertainment bloggers then how can Global Grind ever live up to the taglines that Russell Simmons attributed to it "the news & information epicenter of the Hip Hop Nation"?. If that's the case then BET is actually entertaining to Black people (and we all know that's not true!). Many of the headlines on the site contain spelling or grammatical errors. Not only that but punctuation is often wrong or misplaced. Why is this such an annoyance? Because all the editor/submitter had to do was post a headline and a damn link! That makes it infinitely more shameful and embarrassing. Even moreso than Jojo Simmons' non rappin' ass getting busted for weed possession.

I decided to start checking out Global Grind, the site that Russell Simmons and Accel Partners (Facebook) both bankrolled and own in order to dig deeper and discover what the hell happened to his original vision of creating a site that would aid in "mobilizing the Hip Hop community". How did this whole operation degenerate into at worst a digital ghetto that rivals MySpace or at best another gossip blog? Where's the serious news? Who's in charge of editorials? Why are celebrities such as Tila Tequila posting their thoughts about American policies on the site? Is Amber Rose the best qualified person to talk to about her thoughts regarding the issues in Iraq? Seriously?

I was somewhat amused that video vixen turned rapper (?) Angel Lola Luv was also given a celebrity blog of her own. I was still at a loss for finding any remaining vestiges of the site that Global Grind was supposed to be back when it launched September 2007. There are a few (very few) posts or news items of any real substance anywhere on the site. Rather than give more slots to actual journalists or writers content is instead posted by models, actresses, entertainers, Russell Simmons current significant other or his immediate family members. Nothing says integrity like nepotism! On the bright side, the one person whose opinion regarding Chris Brown's situation I really needed to hear is Maino's! *Sarcasm intended* Does Global Grind have any redeeming qualities besides offering me a gang of reasons to I can shit on it relentlessly? I ended up just throwing poor BlogXilla under the bus relentlessly on Twitter so much he directed a diss blog at me (and erased my response on his blog)

Global Grind is pretty much nothing more than another blog that relies on user submissions, content of a network of other blogs (a fair amount of which in turn get their content from other blogs) and uses that as an excuse to cover it's lack of depth or news. How is this site supposed to be a driving force of the Hip Hop community when it's impossible to take seriously? DJ Whoo Kid (the DJ that can't scratch or doesn't use real turntables that founded Shadyville DJ's & Shadyville Management) has his own blog which might as well be called "What 50 Had For Breakfast". Don't get me wrong...Global Grind does have news! Sure it's all from other sites, too much of it is questionable but it's news (in name only) alright! They even cover Hip Hop Culture! Yeah...I take that back. None of that shit even remotely reflects Hip Hop culture or the issues heads currently have in it. What purpose does this piece of ass site actually serve?

In conclusion, with the quality of journalism deteriorating, the impending death of the print media and the oversaturation of tabloid style sites on the internet it's time we start demanding more from these websites content wise and being way less tolerant of shoddy work. In one of it's earliest press releases Global Grind was described as a "community based website allowing people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web, by linking to, voting for, and commenting on each others content, in a social and democratic way.". This is a great way to pass the buck and remove yourself from blame when the news items and stories that appeal to our basest instincts land on the front page and get the most attention.

I never received an answer in regards to Global Grind's standards or the process they go through to determine what qualifies as content. I never got a straight answer as to how a site with eight different editors can manage to appear so amateur. I was branded as a "hater" rather than a concerned reader that happened to be a critical thinker. I find it odd that a site that's supposed to echo the voice and concerns of the community brushed aside someone with sincere questions about it's practices. In any event, if they want their site to live up to it's lofty taglines and expectations then they need to rethink their entire direction or risk going down the same disappointing path that BET took following it's purchase by Viacom.



Boss Lady said...

Hey Dart,

The most important part of this post and your "tweets" is, from what I gather, that you truly WANT Global Grind to live up to what Russell Simmons says it is.

I agree with you; right now it appears the site is nothing near what it set out to be. In trying to compete with the huge popularity of gossip blogs nowadays, it's WAY too celebrity-driven. There also seems to be no style guide, no standards, etc. Maybe they're going through an explorative stage and will be back on track soon? Till then I don't have much use for it unfortunately.

Oh and thanks for the shout-out, ha :)

~Boss Lady

John Q said...

THe Sad part your post was how it just hits the tip of the iceberg that is the whole gossip blogging thing. It goes so deep *pause ("F" outta here with the usuage of that word)* it would take a massive overhaul and revolution to correct. Insightful as always, John is gone like peace in the middle east

Werner von Wallenrod said...

Damn, does Russell know what's on his site? That's pathetic; and good on you for taking it to them. I saw some of your tweets as it was goin' on, but didn't know the end of the story. I'd love to ask them in person if they're proud of the work they've been doing.

Anonymous said...

When has Russell Simmons ever cared about hip hop or black people? We're talking about a guy who will fuck anything other than a black woman, making empty promises about another venture with the same tired-ass group of faces behind it.

The site exists as yet another mechanism to expand his bank account. He doesn't give a fuck about anything else. End of story.

As for the general decline of everything...that's the reason a shit festival like Transformers 2 will make $400 mil; or why everyone in this fucking country can name each season's American Idol finalists but they do not know who their congressman is; or why the no-attention-span-having motherfuckers of today think "This Is Why I'm Hot" is a brilliant piece of songwriting and lyricism.

It's all gone to shit already, we're just stewing in it.

Leah said...

Russell is too far removed (by his generation and economic class) to speak on what's going on in any community, let alone the hip hop community. All he cares about is money, and keeping money in his family. Hip Hop is just a money train that everybody wants to ride because its popular.
Bigger than that, the fact that TMZ and other gossip publications and blogs are doing so well is completely indicative of people's interests these days. Let's all reflect on that.

Unknown said...

Well, I personally think Russel should simply retire and find a hobby to take care of, rather than create more wastes of server space.

I would totally suggest that the hip-hop part of the bloggerverse actually bust into these things and create a cipher of its own within to help offset the stupidity.

You know, show an example of standard...but thats just wishful thinking.

Anonymous said...

This was an interesting read.

i LOVE Run's House. that shit is like the new Cosby Show for reality TV.

Russell hyped the HELL outta Global grind. inf fact, the show continues to advertsise Global Grind thru JoJo interviewing Run an so forth.

Whenever i get a googlealert about my music going up on Global grind, i used to get maaad excited. especially being from Southside Jamaica Queens.

But after this blog and the vivid description of the misleading and seemingly uninformed "Global Grind Tweets" I gotta say im disappointed. Hopefully Russel and BossLady get it together over there.

Stay Up!