Thursday, August 25, 2005

Stop blaming the messengers when you actually hate the message

As a former publisher, newspaper owner and editor, I find that the general public has no clue about how a newspaper ends up on their front lawn every single day ... nor, all too often, do they care.
They complain about:
· not enough space for ALL the stories that each individual wants to read, or cares about (which would make the DMN the same size as War and Peace);
· too many ads for them to skip (although it represents 80 percent of a newspapers revenue source - 1 of 3 ways [subscription/single copy sales, advertising, classified and retail]. I always told people that ads were "paid news.");
· the amount of time it takes to actually process an event into a printed newspage (despite technological advances, it STILL takes time to get it done).
· limitations of staff (you can't be everywhere and cover EVERYTHING at once).
And to explain it all would mean a full journalism course that isn't taught anymore at schools like Texas A&M. It's too bad because if people knew more about the product they read, they would understand the difficulty and reason to publish a permanent record of history on a daily basis.
So I guess if everyone is complaining, then most newspapers are either doing something wrong or something right (the latter meaning people care enough to voice complaints). It is when they go silent from NOT caring that you HAVE to start to worry).
Still, why does everyone blame the press for what it reads (or hears) when most of the time, the media reports what people want to see or read. Emphasis on stories reflect the public’s interest. Most of the people would rather hear about celebrities, or focus on a single mother in Crawford than spend time on issues that would hurt one’s head through stimulated thought process. After all, if the President doesn’t go in depth, why should anyone else?
Reporting isn’ the problem; retention and attention are the problems. We remember little and have the focus ability of a dead cactus.
Just watch in 2006. All the incumbents will be re-elected; no Democrat will run in GOP-dominated areas and the same bunch of fools will be returned to Austin and DC. You can book it like seeing the sun rise each morning (through the pollution, of course).

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