I was glancing at the cover of a newspaper yesterday that had the word

“PANIC!”

as its headline.  It was the only word on the page.  And then there was a picture like the one to the left.

I smiled to myself.

What is a newspapers main job?  What is its bottom line purpose?  To educate readers?  To sell subscriptions? 


In my experience, its neither.  Newspapers, Cable TV, and Radio make the most money from advertising. 

Now its a catch 22 because the way you attract advertisers is you have a large readership or a specific niche that advertisers are looking to get in front of.  So round and round it goes…

Having said that, what do you think that headline was meant to do?  Arguably, to catch someone’s attention as they are walking by (as it did mine), peak their interest (again as it did mine), and get them to purchase the paper (never going to happen).  Then they get to go back to the advertisers and say, “SEEEEEEE  look how many great papers we sold.  Look at what booming business we’re doing!  Advertise with us!”

I was going to place some charts on the site but I don’t want to get in trouble with anyone so I will generalize and you can look it up to see if I am wrong.  Media companies are BOOMIN’.  One of them had a 46% Stock Price increase in the last 2 years just prior to this recent “downturn”, “crash”, “depression”, “recession”…  whatever.  (This is not investing advice by the way.) 

Clearly, they aren’t “panicking”.

Quite clearly, their business model is working. 

They are getting people’s attention. 

Selling papers, getting people to tune in…

And attracting advertisers…

Now here is why I smiled…

Did seeing that headline improve the quality of my life at all?  Did it make me MORE confident in the future?  Or did it stress me out more?  How many people saw that headline?  That is a pretty large conversation isn’t it?  How many people are they going to talk to about it or the article it was refering too? 

One headline…  MASSIVE result. 

The fact of the matter is that I would have been better off not seeing it at all. 

So I invite you to turn off the TV, Radio, and Newspapers for a while (Trust me, all the problems of the world we be there to meet you should you turn it back on).  Their job is not to provide you with accurate, up to date information.  Their job is to create interest and get your attention by shocking you.  I took this advise years ago and controlled the information which I let into my environment and the quality of my life increased dramatically. 

(A typical arguement to this is: “You’re sticking your head in the sand!”  What is both interesting and disturbing is the amount that I still know about current events even though I am very good at filtering this information.  I am probably not as educated as the person who has been watching CNN all day but I would bet I am pretty close.)

Remember this is only an invitation and to do so might drive some people CRAZY.  If you are that person, completely ignore this fools advice…  but do ask yourself one question… 

What headline on the cover of tomorrow’s newpaper would create a conversation for a future we would all like to see? 

And then ask yourself, “Would they sell any papers using that?”

“You can’t reset the winds. But you can adjust your sails!”
— German Proverb

“There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure.”
–  Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)