In journalism, a hot take is a "piece of deliberately provocative commentary that is based almost entirely on shallow moralizing" in response to a news story, "usually written on tight deadlines with little research or reporting, and even less thought". It was a sports talk radio industry term, referring to the tactic of hosts picking "a topic from the sports zeitgeist, often one that has no business being discussed because the answer is unknowable", making "loud, fact-free declarations" about the topic, eliciting angry listeners to call in and providing show content.
The term gained popularity in sports journalism in 2012 to describe the coverage of National Football League quarterback Tim Tebow, and was analyzed in a Pacific Standard article by Tomás Ríos. It became increasingly used in other forms of journalism in 2014 after a piece on The Awl by John Herrman to describe the economic pressure on online publishers to produce instant, often glib, responses to current events.
In April 2015, Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith wrote on Twitter, "We are trying not to do hot takes", to explain the deletion of two articles that were critical of the site's advertisers. Readers responded by pointing out that the deleted articles were not hot takes. Jezebel's Jia Tolentino argued that the articles were instead "actually in service of an idea" and that based on Herrman's definition of hot take, ideas were positive alternatives to hot takes.
- Reeve, Elspeth (April 12, 2015). "A History of the Hot Take". The New Republic. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- Rios, Tomas (August 15, 2013). "A Brief History of Bad Sports Writing". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- Schur, Mike (April 13, 2018). "Do You Get the Show?". Slate. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
- Turner, Julia (April 10, 2015). "In Defense of the Take". Slate. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- Tolentino, Jia (April 10, 2015). "How to Tell the Difference Between a Hot Take and a Good Idea". Jezebel. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
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