Reader Note: Due to a computer typo, this morning’s Coping section is the one that was scheduled for Thursday. Coping section for today will appear Monday, and so on… Confused? Take a number…
Since I’ve spent a good deal of time with “news: the business model” I thought you might find a discussion about how to “pick your news” useful. Especially this week since there is so much news but also so much hype out there. To begin with, I propose we keep this simple with three levels of news readers (the human kind): The “average,” the “engaged,” and the “professionals.”
Before we assign you to one of these categories, a word or two about method. We have lots of data out there in the news industry. One of the best studies of news consumption I ever read was done by the Associated Press back in about 1970-71.
What it found was the #1 story that most people are interested in, especially if there’s a good local angle to it is? WEATHER. This is why Harvey bumped Trump.
Going from memory here, but after that it was mainly local news and then scaling up to national and international. Sports was high, too. Average people like bread and circuses.
Later, another poll that was done by a broadcasting consulting group came out with a simple guideline for the radio newsers they consulted in the majors: “Health, Heart, and Pocketbook.”
That made lots of sense to us, but it skipped over the “OMG factor” that has really gotten legs with the arrival of (idiotically trance-repeated) social media which is more like a texting version of a runaway gossip mill. Though sometimes, it’s more like a mobile lynch mob…
Let’s start “average” news readers.
They don’t do much but skim headlines for a minute or two, and their use of information is really for its social value. In other words, when they get to work, they don’t want to be the lone “out of it” person at the coffee pot.
These people are dangerous. They are easily bumped up to the next category of news consumer (“engaged” if you’ve forgotten, and BTW statistically 30% already have thanks to ADHD).
The “engaged” people not only skim, but they have been hoodwinked into some kind of belief set. These people will gobble up anything Rachel says, they will actively search for “causes” they are into. That covers the range from the alt-right to the antifa lefties and the climate marketers in between.
I don’t think there is a day goes by that just by virtue of reading a website, a cookie or some other tracker, has led to me getting inundated with useless fund raising appeals from climate causes.
“Engaged” people want to be pissed. They don’t have big enough goals. So they cause trouble. Everyone wants to be a revolutionary leader – the Big Lie of Che. I will lead, you will follow. You work, I direct…bankers without banks is a good paradigm. And bankrupt ideas mostly.
They want to “be in charge” of something – you, for example – because they are the modern pinnacle of Mount I.M.Special. They ain’t, of course. But they will riot, scream, decry, piss and moan to convince…and for the average, it often works.
Last, but not least, are the “professionals.” These are people who only read news to the extent that there is a business reason to do so.
If they are into fishing, they will glance through the sports page to look for fishing headlines. If they are into gun sports, they might hit the boards at AR15.com scanning new topics, and if into television, they will seek out only information about shows they are tracking.
They are also professional about their business use of news: They likely subscribe to at least one, but more likely 2-5 professional publications. They likely to attend at least one professional level conference per year. Not for the junket, but so they can be the best. Excellence is a life, not a slogan.
Whether you realize it, or not, when we scan the comments people submit for approval on Urban, we almost always come away with a fairly good sense of who is “average” versus who is “engaged” and a True Believer in [fill in a cause] and who is a real-life “professional.”
We can also look at people as falling into these categories in terms of forecasting who will get ahead later in life. Obviously, we expect the “average” news/information consumer to remain what? AVERAGE!
“Engaged” people will piss off enough people, that unless they are applying to be a T.A. at Berkeley, their views will oftentimes alienate them from real professionals. You see, real professionals don’t generally “load the boat with useless opinions.”
Instead, they tend to gather the pertinent facts, figure the outcome they can be happy with, act or negotiate to that and then immediately get back to the business model at hand.
This frustrates the hell out of “engaged” people. They need someone to follow them because THEY are already following SOMEONE ELSE and it helps them to pretend they are not arrogant, time-wasters, on the excessively opinionated track to being firm Rachel fans. Problems looking for a cause; mostly whiners.
I think those are enough touchstones for you to wrap your head around the concept. Now lets go cruising some of the news that may be useful to professionals and yet it will be buried under several inches of recycled rainfall stories. Ready?
Thumbing Through Some Press Releases
There was a dandy press release out Wednesday on people’s attitudes toward work that fits in with our discussion here:
“More than Half of U.S. Workers Feel They Have Just a Job, Not a Career, According to Latest CareerBuilder Survey…
– 28 percent of workers say they hate or tolerate their job, primarily stay because of bills, proximity to home, and insurance need
– 38 percent of workers who feel they have just a job, not a career, are likely to change jobs in the back half of 2017
– CareerBuilder CHRO provides five basic tips all job seekers need to know
– Hiring managers have seen it all and share their most unique and over the top things that candidates have done to get noticed.”
Reaction to this kind of thing will vary by news user type.
If your reaction ran to “I know why these people hate work because I feel that way too!” then score yourself “average.”
If your reaction was “Frickin’ greedy bastards that run these companies…we need Occupy Everything to fix this crap!” then label your self “Engaged.” If you have been sucked into a body covered with expensive, useless tattoos, you can append that with “Idiot.”
On, the other hand, if your reaction was “Sad number, but what can we do to change/prevent that at my workplace?” Congrats, you’re going places.
Having fun? Let’s do another press release:
“NEW YORK, Aug. 30, 2017 / — Eight million U.S. adults have already made hotel reservations for the November/December holiday season and six million have purchased holiday airline tickets, according to a new Bankrate.com report. ”
If your reaction was “Who are these people that can afford all this vacation time?” you are self-labeling as “average.
If your reaction was “That’s why I joined antifa – all these rich pricks are getting vacations and I don’t!” Then you are “engaged” and possibly “idiot.”
If you reaction was “Wonder if I should look at how airlines and hotels are doing on the annual stock charts…” Then friend, you are a “professional.”
One more then?
SAN ANTONIO, Aug. 30, 2017 / — The Petco Foundation announced today that all funds raised during their All For Saving Lives campaign in Petco stores and online through September 10 will directly support animal welfare organizations in the South Texas and Louisiana region. ”
If your reaction was “How cute!” score yourself average.
If your reaction was “I think PETA is a better deal...” then score yourself “engaged” and a probable “idiot.”
If your reaction was “Hmmm…I wonder who their CEO is…sounds like a heads-up company….” then you, my friend, are a “professional.”
Oh, and his name is Brad Weston.
On the Brighter Side:
Our high-end legal beagle in Century City sent us this:
“Woolly mammoths were walking the hills of Austin and Waco just a few thousand years ago.
I think he’s gotten confused with the Texas State Legislature.
And hats off to Chris Tyreman’s kids – they’re making it into the just being released Sept. 2017 issue of Rock & Gem Magazine…
The Tyreman kids have put together a very impressive rock and gem museum up in Canada..so buy a copy of the magazine for more.
I’ve been meaning to get up there…but with stories about wild beasts running around Texas, I’m worried I might be mistaken for a fossil and put on display…
Write when you get rich,