Thursday, 6 December 2012

Just the News

The Cape Cod Times is a localized paper there along the coast of Massachusetts which goes out to roughly 43k people.  Yesterday, the paper came out and kinda admitted that they had discovered a long-time reporter for the paper.....had been making up fictional characters as part of stories.  The name of the reporter doesn't matter, but it's interesting to note that she'd been around since 1981.  So there's a number of a lot of fictional characters sprinkled throughout various stories.  And to be truthful, she's done a lot of stories with real people.

You can guess and figure out the whole scheme here.  A hundred years ago....your regional paper had four pages of material max.  When we got to a fairly automated period in the 1920s....the newspapers began to shift around.

So you needed to fill space at that point.  Your boss would step up and tell you the story on the robbery had to expand from six lines, to forty lines.  The truth?  There just wasn't forty lines of information to tell about some robbery at the bank.  After you and think over it a while...you need quotes as filler for the article.  So you hopefully find some bank employee, bank executive, or policeman who will give you two or three quotes.....to fill up the forty lines.

Folks got used to the habit.  Filler was a good thing.

Eventually, you even got around to believing that if you couldn't find enough good filler, then you used bad filler.....imaginary comments or such.

The Cape Cod Times may think it's all a great thing that they did, and truth is refreshing.....but eventually, they will find a second reporter, a third reporter, and this will all reach a point where folks admit that everyone has done some fake stuff in their reporting.

The sad thing here....is that there's really not more than four pages of real news to tell each day in most areas of America.  The other twenty-six pages?  Filler.  And that's the way it is.

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