Relevance in a Material World

By: Ben Baruch, SAE, Fusion PR

A poignant story, how a ‘news’ piece of yesteryear that may have taken months to write and investigate, which potentially had the promise to change people’s minds is overlooked these days. John F. Harris of Politico wrote a piece ‘How Small Stories Become Big News,’ re: this topic, and editorializes in detail how ‘trivial stories – the kind that are tailor-made for forwarding to your brother-in-law or college roommate with a wisecracking note at the top – can dominate the campaign narrative for days… This weekend’s uproar over Hillary Rodham Clinton invoking the assassination of Robert Kennedy… is an especially vivid example of modern journalism as hyperkinetic child – overstimulated by speed and hunger for a head-turning angle that will draw an audience.’

As Web sites continue to dominate news streams and dissemination channels, editorial boards and editors alike are drawn to the effervescence of immediate tallies like page hits/views ‘Leaders of a new publication, Politico’s senior editors and I are relentlessly focused on audience traffic. The way to build traffic on the Web is to get links from other websites. The way to get links is to be first with news – sometimes big news, sometimes small – that drives that day’s conversation.’

There seems to be something wrong and completely ‘unhinged’ if information is perceived as a commodity or to serve a supposed market demand, and not intended as its defined purpose.

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