Posts Tagged economic crisis

More news – less crews – slanted views?

Competition from online and always-on sources and increased economic pressure are resulting in fast changes in the local television news model.  While staff is being cut at a rapid rate, including both production crews and on-air personalities, the amount of programming is increasing.  Although the trend was apparent late last year, as more and more content moved from investigative and on-scene reporting to in-studio talking heads and superimposed file photography, an AP article today details the extent of the atrophy the news crews have suffered.

Apparently, even though viewership and advertising rates are declining, it’s cheaper to package a local news show than it is to purchase syndicated content, so the local stations squeeze more product from fewer resources.

What does that mean to us?  First, as the budgets and crews get cut, the stations have to rely more heavily on aggregated content.  This means an elimination of variety as the source for stories moves higher in the distribution chain.  You may see this manifested as a local broadcast that is tied much more closely to the national “talking points” that the other media outlets are following.

The other component to this is the encouragement the remaining on-air teams are being given to open up and add their personalities to the program.  While it’s intended to be engaging, the result is a broadcast that is much heavier on opinion and commentary than factual reporting.

Pay attention to what is happening in your local area.  If you’re one of the shrinking number of folks that gets your daily news from a local news telecast, a decrease in aggregate variety coupled with an incremental erosion of impartiality could be changing your world view.

Have you noticed a subtle change in your local news broadcast?

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Are you over-stimulated?

I just heard another ad from a car dealership offering a “stimulus package” for their 09 model cars and all the hair on the back of my neck went up.  Am I the only one that thinks this term is being over used?

Tossing a saddle on the current economic crisis as a way to increase your sagging sales seems a just a bit ghoulish and predatory to me.  How about you come up with a creative campaign that takes the high road?

While we’re on the subject of a stimulus program, here are a few suggestions for a personal stimulus program.

  • Turn off the television, put down the remote, and get out there in the real world for an evening or two.  There are a lot of people that could use your help right now, even if it’s just a few minutes of your time spent listening.
  • Start every conversation with a positive story or suggestion for improvement.  Almost everyone I run into or overhear is too quick to complain about the state of the economy or the cutbacks at work.  It’s very easy to forget just how blessed most of us really are.
  • Start thinking about what you can do to help the people who are important to you succeed, and stop looking at the list of public entitlements like it’s the menu at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant.

Somehow we’ve been duped into thinking that the way to solve our cultural and economic issues is to spend money and look to others for help.  A real stimulus program starts with an individual effort to make the world a better place.  Like it says up at the top right of this blog: share, collaborate, benefit!

Each time I hear another huckster offering up price reductions to clear their bloated inventory, or touting tired, already questionable productivity promises as a return on investment for the purchase of their hugely profitable products, and then draping all of this in the trappings of a stimulus package, I fear that our economic crisis is largely based not on financial difficulties but the possibility that a large segment of society has become morally bankrupt.

What is your personal stimulus program?

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