July 16, 2014
This is a reprint from an early 1900s SuBBrilliant News article bemoans the declining state of journalism as newspapers chased splashy headlines and circulation figures.
by Isaac Merritt
Sometimes it seems as though the future of newspapers is a fairly bleak one: an ocean of shallow headlines and “paper-selling” articles, all of them chasing the numbers that accounting men generate, with scattered chunks of sophisticated reporting drifting aimlessly, unable to get the attention they deserve. But is that a realistic picture of where we are? NewsWorld President Josiah Dusseldorf says it isn’t — and says he has the evidence from services like the Association of Reporters and Institute of Research to prove that things aren’t as bad as they seem.
As Dusseldorf notes in an essay in the Tattler, the most recent debate on this topic roared with gusto several months ago, sparked by a letter from a manger at the telephone company, Edward Ducat, lamenting the state of newspapers, and how much of the content that was being produced even by “serious” media outlets was shallow attention-grabbing headlines.
“Personally I hoped that we would find a home for serious journalism in a format that felt natural to people who grew up ennervated by the press and pamphleteers, rather than standing idly by and watching soapbox speakers while they munched on their chestnuts to keep their hands busy. Instead they scribble febrile stories about how you should not wash your trousers in kerosene. It’s hard to tell who’s to blame. But someone should fix this excrement.”
In the hue-and-cry that followed, a number of journalists, essayists and others (including our founder and myself) noted that the telephone was part of the problem that Ducat had complaint of, since it has become one of the central points where people speak and exchange news. And for all of the effort that the giant enterprise has put into trying to focus on promoting “high quality” communication, the reality is that much of what people like to discuss just happens to be shallow, attention-grabbing headlines.
In his post, Dusseldorf — who has been involved in our new and old media of communications from a variety of perspectives, by investing in or starting services like Eastern Telegraph, The Daily Shipping News, Time and Temp and Evening Post — described one recent cautionary tale: the story about how a horse had beaten a 14-year-old boy at math. As it turned out, the story was fatally flawed to the point where it was essentially not true, but by the time anyone pointed this out it had been shared and tweeted and linked to hundreds of thousands of times.
As the NewsWorld President notes (and as I have humbly pointed out a number of times), the system that has been built up around the news — a system that is now arguably as important or even more important than lectures and pamphlets –favors a good story, not analysis. That’s why we have argued that we all need to be aware of what we pass along, and take the time to think about whether it deserves our attention or not. Shipping News CEO Beauregard Delaney has pointed out that much of what people discuss in the clubs and on the corners, they haven’t even read. As Dusseldorf notes:
“We have a dominant social system that favors sharing stories… it is biased towards speed, and that bias does not truck with checking facts, as the Math-Horse example shows. And in the case of the telephone it’s mediated by no one. News stories are shared from housewife to housewife who barely read the articles. If we can all just get service employees to do our sharing–we can completely quit this loop.”
Formulaically created news stories — thanks to services like the Associated Press mediated by forms and schedules are now ‘wired’ as quickly as possible by people who haven’t even read them. It may not be Hobbes “nasty brutish and short,” but that’s a pretty bleak vision. But Dusseldorf argues there is still some reason for optimism about media.
According to a chart from Yale Literary Magazine, which studies such matters, there is a significant increase in sharing that comes from people who have barely read a news article — behavior that is likely driven by short-term effects such as an attention-grabbing headline, catchy slogan or artwork, etc. Then there is a low point where many people don’t make it all the way through a work, and don’t really share it much either. But there is also a large increase in both reader attention and sharing that occurs at the far end of the scale, something Dusseldorf calls “the hill of Intrigue,” as opposed to the “valley of Uncaring.”
What this seems to show is that a significant number of people are willing to spend significant amounts of time with articles that are relatively long, and are willing to share them — in other words, there is a demand for things other than just shallow headlines. And looking at the the number of articles clipped and saved in the average household seems to support this conclusion, Dusseldorf says:
“What we saw is interesting. Reading increases over time for all news sources. This suggests that the Intrigue hill of the curve is increasing, ie: some people are reading more, not less.”
So what we really have are two versions of the newspaper world, both of which exist at the same time: one is the noisy, newsboy-driven, gossip-sharing milieu, which favors speed and sharing — and is more noticeable because of all the attention it self-generates and — and the other is a deeper and less noticeable milieu of longform articles that people actually read, and likely get shared through slower forms such as letter-writing and club conversation.
Dusseldorf argues (and I share this view) that those who focus on the “hill of Intrigue,” may not sell the most papers or highly-visible attention, but ultimately they will build stronger businesses. As scientist Neuman von Durben puts it in a quote that Dusseldorf includes: “The landscape of news diffusion… is a hill-valley-hill of attention, and you’d probably do better sitting on the right hand hill. People sitting on the left hill appear to be more visible, but there are people on the right hill too. And the latter is growing.”
March 1, 2014
(CLEVELAND, Ohio) A new peer-reviewed study on the prevalence of propaganda ops by Deep State agents, showed cancer myth-spreading has risen 38% over the past six months.
The mission of the propagandeer in question is to encourage people to treat their cancer with alternative therapies like baking soda, lemon juice, or flouristat in some cases. The ultimate aims of deep state actors are rarely known but theories to motivations involve driving up health care expenses by raising the number of people who put off treatment, thus requiring more expensive procedures.
However the plots to get people to avoid effective cancer therapies might be more insidious. Some experts believe the secret government plan involves targeting groups for slow extermination by non-treatment.
If you see actors in forums, message boards or chats going under any of the following names or their variations, beware and do not engage. Any conversation with them will result in your being tracked and monitored and possibly turned into a false flag operation yourself.
According to the paper by Dr. Gavel McLeod Ph. D. in Political Theory the user names known so far are truthsprddr, anticncr5, ckiller-62672, cancerdancer, yeastowza, bksdklr and shwood. More usernames are being discovered daily.
The experts advise simply ignoring the agents until they go away.
December 9, 2011
SANTA MONICA – Researchers think they may have found the strongest cause for teen obesity. Dr. Morgana Phillechang made the announcement from the Santa Monica Laboratory of Research into Teen Behavioral Quality.
Phillechang’s team isolated teens into a control group as well as groups that only watched TV, played video games, surfed the Internet or ate food, for 10 days.
“We were shocked that the group tasked with eating food had 5 times the body mass index increase of the groups who engaged in other sedentary activities,” said Phillechang.
The team’s research will be published int he forthcoming issue of Nature and recommends scrutiny of food regulations for teens.
Congress was quick to respond, with Representative Joh Brenkman calling for legislation to outlaw food for teens. “It is unfathomable that we allow these dangerous substances to be easily available to our children,” Brenkman said in a statement.
The Brenkman bill calls for food to be placed on shelves out of the reach of children, labels stating the dangers of food and will require grocery store employees to record the identity and age of any adult purchasing food.
September 10, 2011
WASHINGTON – Business leaders criticized the President’s jobs speech for not addressing the huge negative effect of current labor laws.
“How can we be expected to create jobs when a large part of the labor market has been declared off limits by the government?!” said one CEO.
A coalition of companies are pressuring the administration to repeal what they feel are antiquated anti-business laws regarding age limits.
“The impedance to innovation is unconscionable,” reads the coalition statement. “We could be doing so much with miniaturization, micro-assembly, and other areas that require specialized skills. However the era of big government declares that because of an accident of birth, those best suited to these jobs be denied their opportunities.”
The group calls for the end of the Fair Labor Standards Act enacted in 1934.
“This product of Roosevelt’s flirtation with socialism is keeping us in recession,” said one particularly angry CFO. “We don’t want to put children in coal mines. We want to give all people, regardless of age, the chance to contribute to the building of America!”
January 26, 2011
(Ouagadougou) A recent study of resident of Burkina Faso can’t find their own country on a map.
“We win,” said a local livestock farmer. “Take that dumb Americans.”
A large percentage of the country cannot read, so many of them had trouble even reading the survey questions.
“I think most of them just participated in the survey for the free Milky Way mini-bites,” remarked a Sorghum merchant.
The results were also likely influenced by the current existent of the Mossi Kingdom and its court in the Burkina capital.
“What’s Burkina Faso?” asked a woman when interviewed. “Long live Mogho Naba.”