Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fluff pieces – why news media is dying


We've had the Albuquerque Tribune, Rocky Mountain News and more newspapers close. Seattle may become the first city without a daily newspaper. This trend will continue. Most blame the economy. Try again.

Look at the video piece. The subject of the feature admits that initial guitar making does not turn out excellent results. The “responsible journalist” never mentions the price of the class, what that includes. So, if you research, it costs in excess of $2,000 to turn out a guitar that’s pretty much going to be junk. Trust me, I’ve built electric guitars and I would never endeavor to build an acoustic.


The reporter never pointed out that is the equivalent of 7 or 8 car payments, rebuilding your transmission, at least one or two home payments. That you can buy top of the line Martin, Gretsch or Gibson acoustics for this price. That after you take your second or third course, investing more than $6,000, you can build one of these quality guitars.

First, I have to give kudos to the public relations person who placed this story. I don’t think I could have gotten this on the air. Great media relations.


Second, when I started in Journalism in the last quarter of the 20th Century, we called this a “fluff piece.” Generally they’d end up in the section we’d call “style.”


While the media is covering these fluff pieces, or paying attention to John Travolta’s plane being parked at a nearby airport (really, this was the major news topic for Phoenix media last week, above the state’s $3-billion debt and a mass murder’s verdict), blogs are covering real news. No one has addressed less than 30 percent of all male high school graduates (a 50/50 split in most schools) go on to get a college degree. No media outside blogs are addressing the Dow 100 year average and what it means to our economy.


When did investigative reporting die? That’s what is killing journalism.

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