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Media Outlets

Big Media = Big Box.

News outlets these days are almost invariably regional. Newspapers and teevee are about the same, in that they all cover an entire “metro region” or a multi-county area. There is only one way that they can sustain this.

In your own life, your ability to influence things and thus your interest in knowing about things starts with yourself and radiates outward. By the time you get much beyond your own neighborhood, your need to know has tapered off to something rather small. If you have a neighborhood newspaper, that’s great, because it tells you what you need, but to most media outlets are so large that your scale simply does not register.

But media does not get money from readers, at least not much. The advertisers’ perspective needs to be taken into account as well. The corner hardware store generally cannot afford to advertise in a newspaper because it does not reach its likely customers well. They would be paying for millions of extra readers that would never be able to find it in the first place. So how does the corner hardware store advertise? More often than not, it does not.

The Big Box store Hammers “R” Us operates at the same scale as the media, however. They need to draw people in from a region to fill up the real estate they occupy. And what tops their agenda is a buzz of excitement that makes people jumpy and in a buying mood.

Since they have to cater to their advertisers, regional media outlets have little interest in the things you do. They naturally favor things like sports teams that engender hoopla and hype. Their focus is far, far beyond the things you have any good reason to care about, and certainly beyond what you can influence.

Where they become destructive, however, is by putting small businesses at a disadvantage simply because they cannot operate at the scale needed to participate in the hype. It is a serious enough flaw that media outlets have to rely on someone paying the tab other than the consumer of the product, but to operate at a scale fundamentally different from the citizens who read it is deadly.

That is why so many newspapers are in financial trouble.

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