• Jim Gagen

Old School – A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens had it right

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. The same can be said for what we are seeing today in the media world.


The Best of Times

With the “Stay at Home” order, media consumption is way up across the board.

  • According to Nielsen, 83% of Americans spending the same or more time with radio due to COVID-19.

  • One business to business digital platform I’ve worked with reports website visits up 55% and open rates for e-newsletters is 40%

  • A number of linear Primetime TV programs are up 38-44%, even with streaming and binge-watching being popular for those holed up at home

  • Obviously, news ratings are up everywhere, with recent daily press briefings on the Coronavirus during the early evening news hours beating Primetime cable ratings.


The Worst of Times

With the laser-focus the media and the entire country have on the Coronavirus, misinformation has spread like the virus itself. In some cases, the misinformation is due to media entities rushing to report news without adequately vetting the information, or in their haste to be first or most sensational, they have "editing mistakes" (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/cbs-news-blames-editing-mistake-after-footage-from-italian-hospital-appears-in-report-on-new-york-coronavirus-crisis). Oftentimes, left or right bias is influencing what is reported, what is not reported and what slant the reporting has. Speaking of not reporting some news, several media outlets have stopped or are threatening to stop covering the daily press briefings and/or criticizing the content instead of simply reporting on it. I wasn’t around during World War II, but these daily press briefings are essentially the same as FDR’s historically lauded Fireside Chats updating the country every Saturday on the status of the war. Finally, social media, which essentially puts a microphone in everybody’s hands, acts as a catalyst and the misinformation spreads like wildfire. I can no longer count the number of blatantly incorrect posts I have read in the past week.


Rodney King also had it right

With the uncertainty of the impact on our collective health due to the Coronavirus and its effect on our economy, in the current state of things, as Rodney King famously said during the Los Angeles Riots in 1991, “Can we all just get along?”


Old School – Wash your hands, stay safe and STAY CALM!

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