TO DO RIGHT?
By: Joan E. Battey
The more time goes on, the more old-fashioned shared-wisdom of earlier maxims
applies everywhere. Earlier generations had succinct advice for almost every situation.
Maxims were "common knowledge" -- i.e. understood by everyone. They didn't need
seminars and semesters and special meetings to explain and absorb meanings of words and
The shared maxims "cut to the chase" -- like the exciting near-end of early,
technically-rudimentary movies. The chase was the part where the good guys suddenly
appear, and with mounting suspense, and astounding spurts of effort, save damsesl in
distress, rescue people from disaster, and ensure happy endings. Not to mention, repeat
audiences for next week's new "cliff-hanger." Note how that phrase found a
cultural niche in descriptive phrases still in use today.
The "death of common sense" is still often used to explain disasters. The
"common" as in "common knowledge" and the "sense" as in the
"inner understanding" may be the "chase" we need to "cut to"
in a hurry today. Two news items caught my eye within a very short time-frame skimming
news today. Both seem to exhibit the same basic nugget of cause/effect. Both had the theme
of how difficult it is to put out news and how people should be paying both more attention
to THEM as prime provider, and THEM as more deserving of getting their money than any
other "news providers." The lack of "common sense" is sure to provide
both news outlets lots of inspiration for trying to sing their separate dirges of having
ungrateful customers. Both exhibited a tight grip on their perception of deserving help,
simply for "being there," not for doing superb jobs of ...."just doing
The "common sense" lament was ignored by both , but the increased income
"need" was shared by both. One had built its success on serving a somewhat
specialized on- line audience, though soon including some other topics, and adding to its
base. It is now speaking to concerned, somewhat segmented audiences; but clinging to
promising to be "The One" if people will listen to and support them even more. .
The other, is among many with the same unfortunate blind spots. They are all now
advocating that because profit and audience numbers are dropping, everyone should cushion
their losses for them. They should charge everyone more: --More, for both those who paid
all along, and those who were lured to free on-line when print wasn't what they used to
willingly pay for. First they lured people away from hold-in-hand papers, by putting much
of it free on line. At the same time they diluted much of what had kept loyal customers
buying hold-in-hand copies for literally centuries, under one masthead or another. Now the
print bottom line is dropping fast, concurrently with a shift in what is in it. Who
orchestrated that "problem"?
Ah, the death of common sense. To read about how bad things are for the
profit margin of large Fourth Estate behemoths, you must now pay to find out what you
stopped buying because it wasn't what it used to be, and also had a visible slant not
attractive to all receiving it.
In "olden times" -- like even a couple or three decades ago -- if people
didn't subscribe to publications whose contents didn't fit their needs or interests, there
were other outlets they could choose instead. The free enterprise system allowed
competition, based on ability to provide what "customers" want. Sales were
determined by the product and the satisfied customer base. It was the American Way, the
customer was king, so to speak. Smaller publications, however, need ad revenues to support
the news that people want from them. Catch 22 in many ways, yet not understood as well as
it should have been...
Now politics is not the only orchestrated roadmap to the future. Those preferring
varieties of interests are steadily being deprived of news of them, one by one. Those who
have primary interests now in the ascendancy and spotlighted, are already in the beam of
those wanting to change the parameters and access of those, as well.
When major publications of all kinds are jumping on the bandwagon of telling us that if
we want any news, we have to pay for it. "It" however, seems to change steadily,
as "we" get what "they" think we need to get. "It" is not
the same in the eye of the provider and the eye of those who soon get "it" as
determined by the soon-dominant provider of "it."
Whatever happened to "being worthy of your hire," profit depending on
satisfied customers, true free-market public squares? What will happen to small niche
marketers, AND satisfied customers of small niche marketers of every kind? Let's hope the
answer to that doesn't come too late.
E. Battey is a freelance political writer from Apalachin, NY. Her
love of logical dot connecting and writing developed over many years of typesetting
and proof reading in small daily newspapers; ad agency and manufacturing office
secretarial work, and volunteer work in libraries, animal welfare, political campaigns,
and networks of people keeping abreast of the steady "reforms" in education. She
is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.
"Published originally at EtherZone.com :
republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
Joan E. Battey can be reached at:
the November 4, 2012 issue of
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