Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fred and Marcy Sittin' In a Tree...

Just ignore the title. I didn't know what else to use but had decided this North Coast Journal article showed at least one point of agreement between Media Maven Marcy Burstiner and myself.

There's been discussion locally for some time regarding all the crime in Humboldt. The Tuluwat Examiner being one that likes to say crime is on the rise in the county, if not out of control. The Examiner manipulates the issue for partisan purposes, of course, but others might sincerely believe crime is escalating. 

I don't, and didn't think so. We just get that impression because that's pretty much all we read about in the news. Sensational stuff is what gets people to read news and that's why they report it. I don't blame the media for concentrating on things that will get people's attention. Burstiner made the same point:

The problem with the news industry is that it feels compelled to report what's new. But in rural areas that isn't much. So instead, news organizations report anomalies and after a while, we think the anomalies are the norm. When news sites can report EVERY child abduction in the country as individual news items, we think children are abducted everywhere, when that isn't the case. They don't report children who get home safe every day. When every homicide is reported and not much of anything else, we think homicides happen everywhere, all the time. Newspapers don't report non-crime.

Exactly. She then went on to write, "I'd like to wake up every morning and see a big five-column headline in my paper: "Nothing Bad Happened Today." That's a paper I'd read."

I don't think she would. Too boring. I wouldn't read a paper like that either.


At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well then, you'd really like my idea for a new newscyber: Mad River Murder & Mayhem.

At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We just get that impression because that's pretty much all we read about in the news."

The issue is that greater than 50% of the news content you read in a newspaper (or see on TV) is produced by publicists... the ol' press release.

When you read a Times-Standard article that doesn't have a byline, chances are it's a press release.

Websites are far worse, with little original reporting. Lost Coast Outpost is like a copy service for police, fire and CalTrans press releases.

The general public has been fully assimilated into accepting this as normal and acceptable.

Marcy should do an analysis of LoCO content to break it down into: original content, press release-inspired content, and press release posting.

The percentage of publicist involvement in news generation jumps dramatically for product reviews and entertainment news. So much entertainment news isn't even true. My favorite tell is David Letterman, who really dislikes bullshit, though he's not vocal about it. During an interview, when a celebrity tells an interesting story, he'll ask if it's true because so many personal stories are manufactured by the celebrities' agents.

At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Professorlocknload said...

More laws lead to more crime, if they are enforced. And I'm sure the Incarceration Industry will lobby hard and long for more police and judicial resources with which to keep prison occupancy rates up. Not to leave out more prison construction funds.


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