Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Monday, December 04, 2006

In successful newsrooms of the past, print, radio and TV, there were mysterious, almost psychic, people with no specific employment portfolio related to their unique Delphic abilities to sniff out future paths of potential news based on their own personally vast four dimensional absorption and retention of news product.
Sometimes, in nurturing, pro idea environments, this whole brain trend spotter type might flourish and develop a lengthy career.
This type, to the benefit of savvy editors or producers, can have a nearly insane habitual personal interest in unique subcategories of general news product.
The most common news "sniffer" I encountered over many years was the major league baseball idiot savant.
These were often but not always low-key, introverted types, copy writers who could sometimes rise to an editorship, with an uncannily vivid store of baseball minutiae that acted as canvas for a vast and oftentimes random pointillism of remembered facts and story color from a broad spectrum of past reading.
This type of individual was invaluable to the daily production of an interesting news product.
More than one of these individuals in or around a newsroom created regular arguments, laughter and necessary refining illuminations to thousands of news items passing in the endless, ever evolving and expanding information stream.
While I’ve partially described one type, personally encountered regularly over 30 years, I have to say this oracular characteristic could and did bloom in any interested rank, typesetter to editor to secretary to passerby, within a nurturing creative environment.
Sadly, this creative and free-range thinking type hasn’t survived the corporatized hen house of the modern synergized and downsized newsroom.
In the bland politically correct cubical landscape of megacorp news, it is best, safest, not to say too much, read too much or, even, think too much.
This approach, and we as a nation have never been properly grateful, has brought us Bush II, 911, Florida sharks, Chandra Levi, runaway brides, Monica and, of course, OJ, OJ, OJ!
Without the tangy zip of a miraculously whipped fact freak, the corporate product, by and large lacks the former eggy richness of information not merely consumed freely but also assembled in the free-range manner preferred by info chef Benjamin Franklin as opposed to William Randolph Hearst.
At the reader-hungry Washington Post Co., where modern profit flows from an educational subdivision and not news product, their famed daily offers two stories, today, that illustrate the bankruptcy of two differing assembly line corporate approaches.
At executive-nephew-packed CBS, Team Katie seems torn between potentially unsuccessful Noh or Kabuki theater versions of info minimalism in their search for Number One Joe-ism:

We want to try new things and not look as if we're throwing things against the wall to see what sticks," Couric says.

“Not look as if,” is it.
Meanwhile, the ravening corporate beast called Gannett, Co. Inc., utilizing high tech and a vast ever changing array of low-paid entry level employees, is throwing everything against their digital wall:

Their guiding principle: A constantly updated stream of intensely local, fresh Web content -- regardless of its traditional news value -- is key to building online and newspaper readership.

Yet, in their self-described "’hyper-local,’ street-by-street news” focus, a Denver subunit of this news corporation was, months ago, literally handed on a silver platter the exclusive Reverend Haggard, Meth and prostitute story that made headlines right before the recent midterm election.
The Gannett subunit, KUSA-TV9, sat on the story for three months of numbing PC/legal group think before their peeved source called talk radio to break the story himself.
Real old-fashioned news gets lost and news budgets get diverted to PR in the cutie-pie mumbo-jumbo of marketing strategies with catch phrases like “hyper-local" so beloved by busy multi-tasking, cost-cutting executives.
Modern execs interested in successfully surfing the daily data tsunami need to remember Yoda’s advice to young Luke Skywalker:

A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless.

Will the media use the force or succumb to the dark side?
Stay tuned…I’m working on a 9-armed killer Katie droid!

Modified Image: Google, LucasFilm,
Big fun to read you.
I'm going to pimp you over at Les Enrages blog too!
Ooh, I've always wanted to be "pimped" at Christmastime!!!
Gregory, I just stupidly got bounced email when I replied to the notice that you had commented...Duh. Email the address at the top of the page so I can resend my mail, if you want to...
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