Is the Gulf crisis boring you?
By G. Michael Dobbs
What kind of attention span do you have when it comes to news stories? Do you want continuing coverage of on-going events such as the war in Afghanistan or does it bore you to see or read a daily story that is costing this country millions of dollars and the lives of our military's men and women?
Or does the grind of these kind of serious stories simply depress you? Is the fact that Lindsay Lohan is heading for jail for 90 days is just more fun? Do you revel in the hijinks of the Kardashian sisters instead of listening to NPR?
Or do you want your news pre-digested for you and get it from some partisan talking head show?
I ask these questions in light of a posting at mashable.com
, which used some disturbing statistics that indicate people are getting bored with the most horrendous ecological accident of our recent age.
The post read, "This month, people are uploading clips about the oil spill at a rate of 226 clips per day, on average. This might seem like a lot, but just last month, YouTube users were uploading around 1,021 oil spill videos each day. That's a decrease of nearly 78 percent month-over-month.
"And we're not really interested in watching clips about the oil spill as much as we once were, either . As a web search term, 'oil spill' is on the decline. It first began to peak around April 30, when news surfaced that oil was beginning to wash ashore. The term reached its apex of popularity around May 27 and has since begun to fall.
"Along with searches for this term, related news reports have plummeted. In other words, when public demand declines, media coverage follows suit.
"Not surprisingly, however, Louisiana residents are still searching for 'oil spill' on Google, as are the residents of many other Gulf Coast areas. New Orleans-area Google users are by far the largest geographical group still searching for information about this disaster."
So does the prospect of the livelihood of millions of people from the fishing industry to tourism being wiped out for years or forever not interest people? Does everyone understand this event could trigger a deeper economic emergency with many more people not just filing for unemployment but having to completely retrain and relocate for other careers?
Does the idea of the Gulf of Mexico becoming a body of water unable to support sea life bore you?
Time to sell off those timeshares when you can folks. Think twice about retiring to Florida.
A reader called in to ask me to remind people to water their lawns and gardens at night to conserve water. The high temperatures evaporate the water if you do it during the day.
And the folks at PETA called to remind our readers to make sure not to leave their pets out in the heat or in parked cars and to be sure to have plenty of water accessible to them.
Finally, a note on the passing of Keith Silver: I served with Keith on the board of the Valley Press Club and he was a gentleman who knew the news business inside and out.
Naturally, I grew up watching him on WWLP, like thousands of others here in Western Massachusetts.
He was an old school guy who came from an era in television news when it was more important to get a story complete and right than to look like a model.
Frankly these times demand more of that "old school" approach in my opinion.
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