+ <fortune id="paul-graham-news-that-are-not-news">
+ <title>Paul Graham - News that are not News</title>
+ And when I read, say, New York Times stories, I never
+ reach them through the Times front page. Most I find
+ through aggregators like Google News or Slashdot or
+ Delicious. Aggregators show how much better you can do
+ than the channel. The New York Times front page is a
+ list of articles written by people who work for the New
+ York Times. Delicious is a list of articles that are
+ interesting. And it's only now that you can see the two
+ side by side that you notice how little overlap there
+ Most articles in the print media are boring. For
+ example, the president notices that a majority of
+ voters now think invading Iraq was a mistake, so he
+ makes an address to the nation to drum up support.
+ Where is the man bites dog in that? I didn't hear the
+ speech, but I could probably tell you exactly what he
+ said. A speech like that is, in the most literal sense,
+ not news: there is nothing new in it.
+ Nor is there anything new, except the names and places,
+ in most "news" about things going wrong. A child is
+ abducted; there's a tornado; a ferry sinks; someone
+ gets bitten by a shark; a small plane crashes. And what
+ do you learn about the world from these stories?
+ Absolutely nothing. They're outlying data points; what
+ makes them gripping also makes them irrelevant.
+ As in software, when professionals produce such crap,
+ it's not surprising if amateurs can do better. Live by
+ the channel, die by the channel: if you depend on an
+ oligopoly, you sink into bad habits that are hard to
+ overcome when you suddenly get competition.
+ <author>Paul Graham</author>
+ <work href="http://www.paulgraham.com/opensource.html">“What
+ Business Can Learn from Open Source” (Footnote)</work>