Coping: Controlling Your “News” Inputs

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.

(Continues below)


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 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 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.

Mammoth tooth reveals beast once walked around Austin, Texas .”

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 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,

16 thoughts on “Coping: Controlling Your “News” Inputs”

  1. Having had 3 very diverse careers in my life, the problem with work place and ‘JOB’ issues needs to be worked out ‘outside’ of the work place rather than in it. The pivot point that will move in most everyone’s life is in their own life, particularly their attitudes and views. Attempting to ‘actualize’ a work place is pretty futile. This is my observation over 37 years in the ‘work place’. Fortunately, there are creative ideas if we want to lift the covers.

    • I always got a tickle when a part time employer wanted a part time employee to dedicate himself as if he was a full time employee.. I can’t even tell you how many times I have had to mention..full time employers get first option you have to work around their schedule.. I’ll give you my all while I am here but if you need me to commit to the any time or how long you want me then put me on full time status with bennies

  2. “I thought you might find a discussion about how to “pick your news” useful.”

    Great blog this morning… I scan many many news sources every morning and am constantly amazed that the vast majority all give the news almost word for for word… I use a fib scale.. eventually you can get the true story but usually there is a ton of propaganda pushed out. what gets me is if they keep telling the propaganda over and over its like marketing.. send out a flyer for a product.. you toss it away.. send out the flyer the second time you glance at it and toss it out.. the third time you scan it then toss it out.. the fourth time you read it and say hey I heard about this.. and buy it.. but then this information is passed on to the same people that know the people they reelect haven’t done a thing won’t do anything can’t work together to solve any problems yet they will get a new contract every election.. all they have to do is toss up a dead horse onto the platform for their message… rowe vs. wade anyone.. that one of abortion has been flying up election after election since I was learning how to shave..or how about the new dead horse..homosexual bathrooms or marriage.. give me a break.. does anyone really care who is having sex with who.. are you going to miss out on something.. LOL LOL LOL LOL..GMAFB.. I no longer get the in the bible argument on that station since in the bible if you want a woman just grab one then offer the dad fifty sheckles if they don’t want it your to kill her in front of dad or if you think your neighbor is sinning kill em.If you see Kids talking back to their parents toast em how dare they do that. if there are two churches of different faith destroy the city.. the old testament laws crucified Christ for not following religious teachings..I could go on all day..

  3. according to your schedule they’ll have to catch you first in order to put you on display and that’s not likely is it,lol

  4. Dear Mr. Ure,

    The world’s wealthiest person is espousing your past recommendation of taxing robots. However rather than viewing it as a measure to conserve humankind jobs, Mr. Gates appears to perceive a benefit from on high of curbing productivity.

    I guess you’ll have to rein in your self-driving vacuum cleaner and dust off the trusty old plug-in and push it yourself unit.

    • Smart people do, eventually, come around to what Peoplenomics has been saying for years.
      Tax robots as though the goods they make were made by humans and tax suitable to pay for the cost of the displaced humans. 7-billion people need to eat!

      • Since the smart people eventually do come around and some are listening to what is said here, let me mention again my plan:
        Tax for one dollar ($1) every trade on Wall Street, Chicago Board, or any other bourse in the US, ANY trade NOT done for a retail customer or for a pension plan, but for the “house”, and done by a computer-controlled algorithm, rather than entered for a real-life person.
        98% of the volume every day is computer trades for they house, usually front-running one of our trades, and to make a few cents taking the ‘goodie’ out of our plans. Lets make them pay for the privilege.
        And while they we are doing it let’s put a $2 tax on phantom stock share creation and inflation, also known a naked shorts.
        If you think the daily volume it about 2 Billion trades, a $1 a trade, and about 250 trading days, that could pay down the $20 Trillion in oh, what? 40 years? Might be worth trying,

  5. LOL! If I mistook Austin state legislators for wooly mammoths, it was an understandable mistake.

  6. The MSM in the U.S. source their “news” from the AP, AFP, Reuters wires, and occasionally Bloomberg. No one fact-checks or edits, because that might be work, and by citing a source (“AP” f’r instance) they absolve themselves of any legal responsibility for the content of the wire release. This is why one anchor will spout the same drivel, word-for-word, as every other anchor.

    I used to tap the wire services but do so no longer, because the news releases themselves are a mixture of Liberal bias, opinion, and editorializing by the “reporter” or journo who’s writing the release. I seek news for current, accurate information, and my brain functions sufficiently-well (most of the time, anyway) that I don’t need some naive, idealistic, and wet behind the ears Cronkite-wannabee telling me what I should think or believe, or explaining the “meaning” of a quoted part of someone else’s speech or text.

    If one is in a hurry, the best single news source is Matt Drudge’s news aggregation site. If you’ve patience, try RT, Xinhua, al Jazeera, etc. (all propaganda sites for their respective, not necessarily US-friendly, governments.) Ignore their original content, and just read the stuff they’ve aggregated from other countries’ news (usually U.S. wire stories that never make it to the anchorman’s desk.) Last but not least, hit the U.K. dailies. The British independents do some fine reporting and investigative journalism, and have much less Leftist bias than the BBC or US wires.

    Acquiring prescient information for fun (and occasionally profit) used to be interesting, and an adventure. Now, it’s just plain work. When I hit something which quotes or sources a “think tank” or “nonprofit” with which I’m unfamiliar, I will research that “nonprofit” to learn its bias and political antecedents (i.e. funding sources), sometimes researching its current (and past) membership, their biases and associations, and their associations’ biases, to better “bias-weight” the information I originally read — and yes, I’ve sometimes spent several days, researching a single entity. I don’t jot my research down (although obviously I should), but I remember stuff (like when Ralph Abernathy and Morris Dees first got together. I researched them in the ’70s and so feel no need to have re-researched SPLC at any time since.)

    BTW Mr. looking, it doesn’t matter how many flyers I receive. They go into the trashcan, unopened, before I finish the trip from mailbox to coffee.

    Good luck, and happy surfing ;-)

  7. @ looking out of his box on…

    Why not go the next step? Just be an advisor/consultant/contractor and bill them by the day or the project. I switched to this in 2014 when the oilfield tanked. It has kept me afloat so far, and things do appear to be improving somewhat on the project side.

    I tried the part-time thing, and in the oil patch, they want even more from part-timers than their employees. And the managers are like Roman galley masters – “row well, number 23, and live…” They can stuff that kind of attitude waay up their nasty chutes.

  8. “And hats off to Chris Tyreman’s kids – they’re making it into the just being released Sept. 2017 issue of Rock & Gem Magazine…”

    I remember when this kid was attempting to raise money on kickstarter, I believe it was. I was very saddened when they couldn’t get it all via that route;Irritating that kid entrepreneurship was being sidelined by lack of funding, but I suppose if there was a heart-wrenching backstory, he’d had plenty of cash roll in.

    It is very good news to hear that somehow, it happened for this kid after all. Thanks for that awesome update!

  9. I participated in a dug on a mastodon site outside of Ft. Worth, Texas back in 1990, we were just doing a survey and found the skeleton. This, to me, is not unusual, what is unusual is it doesn’t make it into the knowledge of people via textbooks or any other means so people stay in the dark. Unless, of course, they are exceptional and go out and dig for information.

  10. Take a trip over the B(L) for the news release showing consumer expenditures for 2016. Do the math and see we are spending more on taxes than we do on food, shelter, and clothing combined. Top three on the threat matrix, at least mine anyway.

    Fix that nonsense and problem solved.

  11. “load the boat with useless opinions.”

    LMAO.. that makes sense to.. my wife has a rule in the house. I cannot discuss anything political or religious, absolutely nothing on global warming and I I have to keep serious conversation down to twenty words or less..
    Her motto that she tells me often ” Honey.. your opinions are your opinions and no one cares about your opinions except you ”

    A wise woman indeed

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