The Real Michael Jackson Pusher

Photo by Håkon H — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Old school journalists stumbled again this week, over culture and facts.

Usually news executives try to convince us that they alone know what qualifies as real news. When they appear to drop all of their pretentiousness and give us wall to wall coverage of pop culture, however, they use another argument to justify their ratings grab: this is what the people want.

We always knew this wasn’t the case. It has always been more about their greed for advertising dollars than it is about their care for their readers. Now, we have the facts.

As posted in KadmusArts’ Culture News this week, Jeff Jarvis gathered several facts about the Michael Jackson news coverage. Looking across the web, he showed a rather steep drop-off in web searches and blogs about Jackson a couple of days after his death was announced. In addition, video downloads of Jackson’s performances also dropped off. Just at the public’s interest waned, the news industry kicked into an all-out this-is-the-most-pressing-story-of-our-era coverage.

One conclusion: this isn’t what the people wanted; it’s what the news industry wanted. The industry insiders are not following a story, they are making a story.

Given Jarvis’ coverage, these old journos still do not understand their business model or us. Their audience dwindles everyday because we don’t look to them for bringing us what we don’t know — the news — let alone information leadership.

Sure it is fun to gloat at the irony: facts get in the way of their journalism. However, the deeper story here is the lack of cultural reporting that could help to enlighten their readers and information consumers.

In the culture biz, we are always aware of the inherent tension between the “give ‘em what they want” and the “lead a community” balancing act. Plato and Aristotle knew the tension well: entertain vs. enlighten.

Even more than the culture biz, the news biz succeeds when it follows the enlightenment school of audience interaction. In fact, given our information ready existence today, bringing education and experience to enlighten us is the only reason for the news biz to exist.

Here was another opportunity for the news biz to better understand its audience. They could even have used the culture biz’s measurement of success: attract new audiences.

Michael Jackson was an incredible artist, who knew how to sell music and how to sell-out live performances. The culture biz will learn a lot from Michael Jackson’s talent and career.

I wonder what the news biz will learn?

- Bill Reichblum

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3 Responses to “The Real Michael Jackson Pusher”

  1. New Michael Jackson Single To Be Released With Film | Urban Music 2000 Blog - Music News, Celebrity News, & Gossip
    September 17th, 2009 07:26

    [...] KadmusArts - where culture speaks ” Blog Archive ” The Real Michael … [...]

  2. Michael Jackson Halloween
    March 10th, 2010 14:47

    I absolutely love the photo above the post. Where is this “sculpture” located? I guess I’m one of those who hasn’t stopped mourning MJ’s passing.

  3. Ruben
    March 10th, 2010 17:43

    The porcelain sculpture is by Jeff Koons, and is at the Astrup Fearnley museum in Oslo, Norway.

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