After seeing the latest “couch-side chat” by MatPat (host/owner of The Game Theorists channel–among others) where he discusses how the good that YouTubers do is largely overlooked by the news media, my first reaction was “duh.” (Click here for the video.)
He mentions how a public relations person told him that no one is interested in good news about YouTubers. As a once-upon-a-time reporter (and for a short period a PR person), I was not surprised by this statement. The first thing they tell you when you walk through the Journalism 101 door is “if it bleeds it leads.”
It’s not just YouTubers that are targeted by this “no one interested in the good news they do” belief, it’s everyone. I can’t tell you how many times I pitched a “good” news story only to have it rejected or published on page 25.
The reason for the “no good news” is partly because “bad news” is what sells. News media operates by lowest common dominator, which sadly is drugs, sex, and violence. People are more interested in reading about a scandal or accident or disaster–probably because these things end up affecting people. The story about the 100-year-old woman is cute but how does it affect the average person. The story about the tornado ripping through a town impacts more, especially if you have friends or family there.
The “bad news” is also easier to write from a reporting perspective. It’s a lot easier to find an angle for a story where YouTuber X is found to be a child predator versus YouTuber X donated $2,000 to charity. In the later, pretty much all your questions are answered within a few words; the former creates questions and creates more stories (i.e. coverage of a trial, controversy over if YouTube should run background checks, etc). In the charity example, you get one, maybe two, stories. In the child predator story, you get hundreds.
But, I’m not here to talk about business theory or sociology or psychology. I’m here to talk about the second thing I thought of after watching the video. How do people find out about all these news/debate topics and still spend hours upon hours on their videos? Is there a YouTube CliffsNotes I don’t know about?
So, naturally I began thinking about how funny that would be if there were CliffsNotes on YouTube Creators/Channels (there might be; I just said I’m not “in the loop”). Wouldn’t that be weird/cool to walk into a bookstore and there is CliffsNotes: MatPat? It’d be full of all the stuff about his channels you’d need to know, like “clap and a half,” and “#BlameJason,” and “Pro Tips.” It would also have brief summaries of the more popular videos.
I’m sorry, these are the weird rabbit holes that writers/artists find themselves in sometimes. But, you can’t tell me that you would rather have a post discussing news media theory or dissecting an Internet video than hearing about Let Me Explain Studios for Dummies.
Two hours later…
Two hundred dislikes?!
OK, so maybe you would rather have a post dissecting a video…
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