Huffington Post Will Now Publish Your College Thesis
In a further example that the Huffington Post is willing to publish just about anything to get eyeballs, the site recently announced that it would begin to allow college students to publish their senior theses online. Students are encouraged to submit a 800-1,000 word synopsis of their work (because this is the internet, where attention spans go to die) and the site has specified that the authors will maintain the copyright of their writing, allowing them to publish their ideas elsewhere (in an academic journal, for example). Why anyone who isn’t teaching these students would be interested in reading their theses is still in question, but let’s be honest, that’s not really what it’s about anyway.
Inside Higher Ed interviewed several of the students featured on the site about why they chose to submit their work — whose thesis topics ranged from Judy Blume to Italian food to copyright law — and many said that it was simply to have their effort recognized. Which, as anyone who has written a thesis only to have it sit in a drawer somewhere can attest, is better than getting no credit at all. Many universities have begun creating digital databases where students can publish and review theses, but those don’t get the same click-throughs and Google love as the Huffington Post.
HuffPo’s site seems aimed for those who are looking to build their own brand. One has to wonder though, how it will impact the way future research is conducted. One can only imagine how the notion of clickbait will influence college projects: A study on how the Kardashian Effect brings up the monetary value of everything that starts with the letter K. An artistic analysis of the Sad Keanu Mashups. A look at why LOLcats are so damn appealing. Oh wait, that last one is real, and was researched at the London School of Economics. Perhaps it’s already too late.