Popularity wins out over truth in the curious dance of modern online journalism.
An article by Kelly McBride over at Poynter Online reports on the fact that many news outlets refused to stop using ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ even after it was agreed that it wasn’t an official place of worship nor at Ground Zero. The reason for the continued use, is that after the recent news blow-out about the community center, many people are using the term ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ to look for stories on the matter.
But now that the story has peaked, now that we know the real facts, can anyone possibly correct the record? Not if Google has anything to say about it.
That’s because accurate or not, people are searching for the term “ground zero mosque.” So if you want to reach people who are looking for information, you have to use that term.
It’s easy enough to do in a story meant to debunk the phrase. All you have to write is, “It’s not a ground zero mosque.” But, what about ongoing coverage? Must you keep using the inaccurate term?
Sadly, the answer is yes, according to people familiar with SEO practices.
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