Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

Continue Reading »



Mobile: 410-591-6315

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)


    Your Message

    Social Media


    Ending “Trending”

    By on October 21, 2014 in See It Here

    Much is made of what’s “trending” during newscasts these days. In other words, the suits in the corner office conclude that TV news stories people “click” on, indicates there’s more interest there than in other stories. Put yet another way, you, too, should join the club and “click” on these stories because everybody else is doing it and should it come up in conversation in the next few hours you will sound like you know what you’re talking about.

    Are you kidding me (yes, there was an adjective that goes with this line but I want to be polite and make this a f’king teachable moment”).

    This is an offshoot of a story that appears every Sunday afternoon in the news business about how many people went to the movies where we learn that Brad Pitt’s “Fury” knocked out Ben Affleck’s “Gone Girl” over the past few days. Does this mean I’m gonna go to “Fury” because I want to be in the majority? No, I don’t give a darn what a lady in Iowa City chose to see when I’m standing in front of the movie theater trying to decide which of the 27 screens gets my $20 and fake-butter-popcorn.  This is an inside story that the folks at Sony-Fox-Universal-Warner Brothers and so on pay attention to because they have to. And when I’ve been asked about using a story like this in a newscast, I’ve always said, “it has no meaning to anyone in the real world.”

    The top five cars being sold is a real world story. The top five Christmas gifts is a real story. The top five Halloween costumes is a real story.  And this is because we all have the proverbial dog in the fight be it thinking about a car we can keep for ten years or sitting behind that very car in a traffic jam for twenty minutes or a gift we might be thinking of sending or maybe a clown suit we want our kids –or ourselves–to wear.  But the top five stories people are clicking on from a TV station’s website is  phony news (and a waste of time).

    The beauty of social media is we have a front seat to news–in fact we can watch Congressional hearings or news conferences live should we choose to do so. We no longer need to be near a TV or radio to see and hear a newscast as it is streamed. All of this is healthy because it is one more way to obtain information. However, these inane games about who else is watching is just that: one more easy-to-do circus act parading as “news” that says “Don’t Think.”

    Comments are closed.