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This made me angry

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SheaSeals, May 25, 2007.

  1. SheaSeals

    SheaSeals Member

  2. andykent

    andykent Member


    Just curious. Why does this make you angry? He made some salient points. Probably unpopular ones, but salient nonetheless.
  3. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    My opinion on this is simple: If the column made him angry, great. Columnist mission accomplished. Be interesting and provocative and lead to discussions -- like this one.
  4. andykent

    andykent Member

    I totally agree SF. Mission accomplished for Mr. Adelson. Just wanted to see Shea expound a little more.

    BTW. Congrats on your career milestone (yeah, I know there's another thread for that, but I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone.) ;)
  5. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I expect more than that. Look, I worked at a couple places where shock value was the strategy and I have no moral objection to that, or to columnists writing stuff for the sole intent of getting a gut reaction from readers rather than having that gut reaction be merely the by-product of a well-written, logical column. But experience tells me that this is an ineffective business plan for newspapers, although not for TV.
    For several reasons.

    First, readers attracted by this kind of thing are pretty fickle; I think we saw this recently when the New York Post tried to raise its price and then relented. People who buy us to be informed are more willing to pay a premium than people who seek only entertainment.

    Second, readers can tell the difference between sincere outrage and contrived outrage. I worked at a couple places where we kept track of what kinds of lead headlines sold the most papers, and the deal was that readers seemed to be able to tell when we were faking orgasm. They could tell at a glance on the newsstand when we were trying to jerk them off like a stripper in the VIP room instead of engaging them in something real and spontaneous and meaningful. And they weren't buying as much when we were trying to manufacture it as when our shock, horror or outrage was genuine. When I read a columnist, I have to have a gut feeling that he isn't putting on an act, that he isn't trying to be provocative -- that he's being provocative because he can't help being provocative.

    Third, I believe that because of the Internet people are inundated with so much stuff that it is becoming increasingly harder to shock anyone. That stuff is in huge supply for free just about anywhere you look. What isn't in huge supply is logic and reason, and it is our best strategy to provide that.
  6. andykent

    andykent Member

    So with that being said Frank, what's your take on this piece by Edelson -- contrived or genuine?
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Totally contrived.
  8. andykent

    andykent Member

    SF, care to weigh in? Contrived or genuine?
  9. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Yeah, Frank -- geez, two in one day -- I have to come down with genuine. I thought he wrote a good, provocative column, making some good points, whether you agree with all of them or not.

    I wasn't saying this was a good column simply because he provoked a reaction, and I hadn't really thought of it was a "shock value" piece. I thought he simply made a stand that's unpopular with a lot of the mainstream media, and did a decent job of it.
  10. andykent

    andykent Member

    My vote was genuine as well. Haven't seen this point of view taken anywhere else, and I certainly don't expect to see it dripping from the back page of SI under Rick Reilly's mug. ;D
  11. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I was willing to mull over the column's many points until I got to this trite nonsense:

    Frankly, I think kids are more likely to say: "Dad, can I have another ice cream? And how come the Bernie Brewer's mustache looks like two bananas?"
  12. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    By his line of logic, though, an op-ed columnist should write that he'd like to see this sleazy politician reelected because so many other politicians are sleazy; in fact, politics is such a great big oozing pile of sleaze that we ought to elect the biggest sleaze of all as president, just to end our denial about how sleazy politics is.
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