Thursday, January 18, 2007

When does news have a "vanishing point"?

Chris Anderson (the Long Tail guy) posts his observation about why news loses value in direct proportion to the distance (physical, mental, philosophical) from the reader. That's undoubtedly true in many respects. Quoth he:
For instance, the news that my daughter got a scraped knee on the playground today means more to me than a car bombing in Kandahar.

Am I proud of this? No. But it's true. And it explains why I've stopped listening to NPR (I can't think of a worse way to wake up than to a news report that begins with the words "Another bombing in Baghdad..." when I know that one of the main reasons for the attack was to get covered by the international media in the first place. Plus it no longer counts as news to me.)

But there are powerful reasons to question what it would mean for society if his preference (however universal) became the norm. The real value from this item comes in the comments that follow his original post – especially the contrary ones. They're worth reading if you have time.

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