Census: Media IQ Down 30 Points

Now I’m not picking on Maine here, or the Bangor Daily News (although that’s one hell of a terrible logo you’ve got there,  BDN), but what’s up with all these godawfully boring stories that, it seems, every damn newspaper in America is doing on the 2010 census? Yes, every 10 years, as the constitution requires, the country has a census. The census information can be used to support and enrich real live news stories in all sorts of ways. But this raft of stories seems to have been ordered up by the stupid assistant city editor of all time, and he must work at most every daily in America, because there are just thousands of non-news “stories” about the census out there, each saying there’s been a census, and our little corner of the world gained (lost) this many people. But wait, let’s reconsider the “daily” I put in the last sentence. This idiocy has infected the new media, too; witness this headline from the Rosemount, Minn. version of Patch.com: “2010 Census Data For Minnesota Expected on Wednesday.” It’s not enough to wait until the census data are out, so you can “report” a newsless story based on the press release the government sent you; to be a truly representative new media reporter of non-news, you have to “advance” something that won’t be news, even when it happens.

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