Monday, July 30, 2012

Bread And Circuses - And Uniforms

Over the weekend our staff noted an odd thread running through the behavior of friends, neighbors, professional colleagues, and even the general public.

Over the past couple of days, one of the world's most vocal climate change deniers admitted he has been completely totally wrong, in the face of a new report. A major oil spill in Wisconsin dumped over 1,000 gallons of raw crude into a farmer's field. Europe is, once again, hanging by an economic thread, while our own economy continues to be stalled by a do-nothing House of Representatives - who are about to go on a five week long August vacation.

Mitt Romney's gaffe parade continued, as he made several more gaffes in Israel. However, since Mitt didn't start World War III while he was there, his backers seem to think his trip has been a success so far.

All this happened over the weekend - though we can understand if you missed the real information while arguing about ridiculous stuff like the Huskers' special uniforms for the Wisconsin game, where the bust of Winston Churchill is, or the stupidity of the executives at NBC Sports.

It shouldn't be a surprise, really, when those in charge of our media and information sources don't seem to have a clue of how the real world works, when we - their users, viewers, listeners and readers - don't seem to have any idea of what's important ourselves.

Take the Olympics, for example.

While the executives at NBC Sports seem to think American audiences will watch every single Olympic event, what those same execs have failed to realize is that most of their U.S. viewers are well-connected to other media sources around the globe.

Of course, we're talking about the failure of NBC to air important events from the Olympics live in the U.S. - or sometimes even air them at all.

The 7/7 subway attacks in London are the UK's version of America's 9/11 terrorist attacks. Fifty-two civilians died, and over 700 were injured in and around London. The opening ceremonies of this year's Olympics had a moving tribute to those victims - one which NBC chose not to air, because their executives obviously felt commercials by Karl Rove's anti-Obama hate group and fast food ads were more important than a moment of true human connection at the Olympics.

NBC has been paying the price for their lack of judgement, however, as American audiences have been seeking out live video streams and live news reports from other countries as an alternative to the NBC "coverage". The brand of NBC has been hurt too, as hashtags like "#NBCfail" have been flooding the internet, joining brutal takedowns of NBC's poorly handled Olympics coverage.

Giving the people what they want is important, especially if your business is in the media and entertainment field.

The problem arises when the news media tries to ignore the reality of an interconnected world, or tries to make what players are wearing more important than what and how they'll achieve on the field - or in the classroom.

Events will happen in their own time frames, events far more important than the color of a jersey or the swim times of an Olympic athlete. Our responsibility in the media is to report those stories in a factual and entertaining way, as they happen - and to make our money from providing high quality content and reporting, not from gimmicks.

If all we're going to do is promote yelling matches and scream about fashion, Kim Kardashian and Joan Rivers may as well take over doing the news.

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