Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Put down the dead snake and step away

  • Newest weapon of terror: Dead snakes.

  • Two-headed albino snakes, however, while alive and well, are a hot commodity among thieves.

  • It doesn't really say good things about your town that they decide to name a toilet after it.

  • Prepare yourself for a whole new level of pain.

  • Today I happened upon the webpage for Portsmouth, England's Division 2 rugby club. I really like their motto: "Probably the best on the South Coast." Probably.

  • Who would have thought sand could be such a big deal?

  • I think I have mentioned before that I am a periphery member of the Global Media Conspiracy. One of the things that annoys me most about the mindless behemoth that keeps me fed and (inadequately) stocked in beer is scare journalism. This is when a boneheaded reporter who earned their degree in mass communications and has zero journalistic skill decides to emphasize the most terrifying angle of any particular trend or happening.
    A few years ago, as soccer started gaining popularity in the United States, there were a number of stories talking about the injuries possible as a result of heading the ball. There were no stories about shattering your elbow playing (American) football, or having your teeth knocked out in baseball, or tearing your ACL playing basketball, or dislocating your shoulder swimming -- all things that have actually happened to people. But heading the ball in soccer? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
    Anyway, that brings me today, when I found this poorly written story on the dangers of blogging.
    One of the writers I copy edit for reminded me today of something I once told her about TV reporters: "They are monkeys. They are capable of exhibiting human-like behaviors, but they should not be trusted to do anything other than amuse people."

  • Regardless of the danger involved, Iraq and Paraguay put on a good match in today's Olympic soccer semi-final. Paraguay won 3-1, tarnishing a story that still has a good chance of becoming a major motion picture on par with "Cool Runnings" and "Brassed Off." They now play Italy for a chance at bronze.

    Anonymous said...

    As bad as the talking monkeys are, there's someone who graduated from those ranks (OK, OK, it's actually a former producer) who told the reporter to do that story.

    Here's why it's funny: They have a received wisdom and common knowledge (and consultants) about what the audience wants, they give fluff.... and then wonder why their ratings drop year by year.

    Chris Cope said...

    Consultants are definitely a part of the problem.
    There are two key problems with consultants:

    1) They are self-employed. In order for them to have a job, they HAVE to find something wrong with a television station and offer up ways to "fix it."
    You will never find a consultant who will say: "You know, you're doing a lot of things right here. If your ratings dip, that's just the ebb and flow of public interest. You should stay the course here because what you've got is really good."
    Instead they have to offer up lame suggestions as to how the anchors should look at each other, what colors the set should be, and what important buzzwords to use ("local," "YOUR weather").

    2) In keeping their job, a consultant usually does "research" and finds who are the majority of a station's viewers. Then the consultant advises the station to narrow its focus toward that majority.
    So, say your station is appealing to women aged 28-37. The consultant will tell you to start doing news that other misguided corporate consultants think will appeal to the group. Because that group consists of human beings with brains and independent thought, some of them won't watch. So the consultant will tell you to narrow your focus to MOTHERS aged 28-37. The process repeats and you are left to focus on SINGLE mothers aged 28-37. Again the process repeats; narrow the focus to single WHITE mothers aged 28-37. And on and on and on -- ignoring any other potential audience -- until your newscast is focused solely on Eileen Davis, age 32, of Elk Grove, and the rest of your market is utterly disenfranchised and getting their information from talk shows.

    Like-a-Fox said...

    I like how suprised they were that you could find out someone had a cat named Ed, and etc. All she would have to do is mention that, it's a diary for gods sake! If her parents were really worried she was in danger of being found by some internet perv, why are they sitting back going, "Oh gosh! I just she just wasn't thinking!" instead of making her set it to private, or telling her to stop it all together? "A normal, healthy narcissist wants to be the center of attention, wants to be watched, wants to be focused on." Is that the only reason they could think of for starting a diary? Wankers.