Procrastination Nation

Things that Robert is thinking about that keep him from accomplishing anything.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? Counter by Digits.Com

Thursday, April 24, 2003
You Don't Say...
This is one of those things that drives me up the wall about journalism today, particularly sports journalism. USAToday posted an AP story today reporting LeBron James will announce tomorrow that he is declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft. Two things bug me about this.

  1. We've known he was going to do declare himself eligible for the NBA draft for over a year. There's nothing "new" in this news. It would be "new"s if he didn't. Georgia-Pacific has committed acres of newsprint over the past year to ensure that journalists and cyberjournalists everywhere (o.k., not cyberjournalists) would hear about this kid's every move. This merits placement in the "Transactions" section of your sports page by now.

  2. Even if it was "news," it has been announced in a way that it will cover at least two days worth of news: Today, we report that he will announce tomorrow his decision about the NBA draft, which decision we already know because it was included in the press release and the accompanying article (or SportsCenter stand-up segment) rehashing it; Tomorrow, he will actually announce the decision, so we can report on the actual announcement. Television is especially bad with this because there is so much acreage to fill. Thus, we're doomed to two more days of non-stop LeBron James coverage on the various ESPN programs and ABC's basketball telecasts.

I liken this PR-journalism to junk mail: hey, you don't have to help the missing kid on the back of that post card or accept the credit card you're being offered, we're just giving you the information so you can make a decision for yourself; hey, I know you didn't request this porn-site address or information about this weightloss program, but I'm just giving you the information, in case you didn't know that you actually wanted it. Journalists debase their profession when they let the people about whom they are reporting and their PR-department commandeer the reporting process to maximize the benefits for their clients.

I know it's a competitive marketplace, but the prevalence of it--pr-journalism and junk mail--seem to make a case for a clear market failure due to negative externalities (i.e., a product is over-produced because the full costs associated with it are not borne by the parties to the transaction).

Comments: Post a Comment