Last night, Apple sent out a press invitation for what will probably be the announcement of the iPad 3 on March 7th. This could be reported with something like the following:
"Apple has invited journalists to an event, likely to be the launch of the iPad 3, on March 7th. The new model is likely to include a screen with twice the resolution of the older models, and a faster processor."
.. which comes to about 40 words. But, when it comes to Apple, tech writers hate to use 40 words when 400 will do, so I set out to find out who achieved the single most overblown report on the subject. And, because every overexcited blog post needs a
diagram EXCLUSIVE INFOMGPONIESGRAPHIC, there's one at the top for you.
I checked all the major news websites appearing in the front pages of a Google News search for 'iPad launch march', and counted the words in the body copy – excluding captions and headlines. Fifty bonus words were added to the score of any article padded out with some text about Steve Jobs, and bonuses were also appointed for particularly ludicrous errors or overexcited outbursts. The entire scoring table is available for inspection here.
Short and Sweet
The best score goes to Wired (US), which posted a short and to the point 168-word blog post with nothing excessive or silly. Nice work. Kudos also to Pocket Lint, although I was tempted to award bonus points for the use of 'purty', and the BBC, which managed to wrap a bit of balance into a short piece.
IPAD 3 OMFGPONIES!!1!
Others, of course, didn't feel the need to hold back. Everyone's favourite content aggregation turbine the Huffington Post put in a strong showing, with over 650 words and a tone so excitable that it inexplicably dropped into serif text half-way through, but the overall winner has to be Mashable.
In a truly Herculean effort, the tech blog somehow managed to crap out over 750 overly-caffeinated words, including a slideshow of randomly selected rumours, plus a complete second piece containing tweets about the launch which I didn't even bother to count. It even managed to work in some kind of nonsense about an ape, rocketing its total score to over 1000 (remember, the baseline is 40).
One can only imagine how it'll cope with the actual launch day itself.