Fixing the Newspaper Business or “Do I Have to Do Everything Around Here?”

to-do-listThis has been on my to-do list for a while but it keeps getting pushed downstream by other, more pressing issues.   The volume of whining – along with the complaints about the whining – has gotten so loud, though, I figured I’d better take an hour or two and get it done:

“#23: Fix newspaper business.”

Pay attention.  I’m only going to go through this once.

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Anatomy of a breaking news story

The photo at right is real.

My first thought, though, was, “There’s no way that’s real.” After all, I remember stuff like this faked photo of the infamous 9/11 tourist.

But it’s real. For posterity’s sake, and perhaps as a simple commentary on the state of news consumption habits, here’s how I absorbed this incredible story:

  • I saw a Twitter message from someone who was “retweeting” (a.k.a. forwarding, resending, sharing) this original message from an eye-witness.
  • I looked at the photo, and immediately doubted its veracity.
  • At second thought, it looks more real than most retouched or faked photos. I head to Google News and search for U.S. Airways.
  • I found this story (which will likely be updated by the time you read this) from the Associated Press, confirming what the photo told me.
  • I read two other short, in-the-works stories on the Web.
  • Then I flip on MSBNC, which stays on in the background to elaborate on the story I’ve already learned about elsewhere.
  • About half an hour later, MSNBC was about as interesting as my college statistics class, I suppose through no fault of their own. The story had been told.

So what does it all mean? I don’t know. I guess, for starters, if you’re not on Twitter, it might take a few extra minutes for you to learn about breaking news. And breaking news stories get boring quickly once the TV station gets a couple of eye witnesses and the token aviation expert on the air.

Photo courtesy of jkrums on TwitPic/Twitter

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