Rosie the Robot and hack journalism

Newspaper reporters who toil in the technology field must be tired. 

They are letting creativity wane and writing cookie-cutter technology articles that could have been composed by, umm, robots.  Case in point, I’ve noticed that whenever I read an article about consumer robots, and I have read many, there always seems to be a hackneyed reference to Rosie the Robot or the Jetson’s.

To make sure I wasn’t imagining things, I did a Google news search of  Rosie the Robot.  In the last month alone, more than 50 news articles about robots have included the tired reference. 

For example, from a Dec. 12 Associated Press article: “the promise of robots for scientists is represented by Rosie, the vacuuming robot of “The Jetsons” cartoon series.”  In the Seattle Times, the reporter gets in two tired references in one sentence: the robot “more resembles an Energizer bunny running low on juice than Rosie, the Jetsons’ domestic robot.” 

And in the San Jose Mercury News, the reporter throws away all pretense and proclaims in the lead, “Rosie the Robot, the friendly house-cleaning bot in the Jetsons TV comedy, is still a wistful dream for those who hate housecleaning.”

Enough.  I realize the tempatation to include easily flowing pop-culture references in articles must be great, especially when it gets close to deadline.  But the problem comes when readers invariably think that Rosie is the future of consumer robotics, which, by most accounts, it is not.  The future most-likely lies in individual robotic devices such as I-Robot’s Roomba or Scooba.  

It’s likely we will have little robots doing various tasks, not a maid to order Rosie that can do everything.  Bottom line, reporters are doing their readers a disservice because of downright laziness.

I call on reporters across the world to resist the urge to reference Rosie, the Jetson’s or any other fake robot when writing about this exciting field.  Not only is it tired journalism, it fails to convey the true nature, and future, of the consumer robotics field.

So, reporters, how about a fresh approach?  Think outside the box.  There’s a whole swath of information out there to investigate that will resonant with your readers.  Please ponder, as you lean back in your chair, hands folded behind your head.



2 Responses to “Rosie the Robot and hack journalism”

  1. TomArmour Says:

    Now that you mention it, I do remember seeing references to Rosie in various robot articles, but isn’t it easier for readers to understand? Rosie is the iconical robot in pop culture.
    Or is it Asimo now?

  2. Hack Says:

    Hey, “Futuresheet,” maybe reporters are not just tired, but BUSY. So what if we “reference” Rosie. It’s better than some idiot blogger making a point about writing about nothing. Here’s an idea, stop thinking and just continue linking…

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