News stories that really bored me last week: The White House party crashers and Tiger Woods' car crash. It seemed no news outlet could resist giving consumers minute updates to both these incidents, dissecting them to death, asking for ever more experts to weigh in solemnly on what it could all mean. Neither incident seemed worth more than a minimal amount of the nation's attention, let alone a week's worth of breathless updates. I kept thinking I ought to feign interest, given the media coverage seemed to indicate that these were both super important things to know about, but mostly found myself clicking away, whether it popped up on my computer screen or on my TV.
Don't get me wrong, there were some fun moments along the way, like the Taiwanese news video that animated the Tiger Woods accident and fight with his wife, for which several people e-mailed me the YouTube link; and when a friend's Facebook status proclaimed she wanted to find a party to "Salahi."
But ultimately the payoffs for the relentless media hounding -- that the Salahis are likely to end up as part of Bravo's "Real Housewives of D.C." reality series and that Woods is indeed a cad who cheated on his wife and thus deserved to have a golf club smashed into his SUV's window -- didn't do it for me. In the case of the party crashers, they got just what they wanted, oodles of media attention and the chance to proclaim that their lives have been just RUINED by all that sought-after media attention. (Remember when being notorious was actually a bad thing?) In Tiger's case, he got exactly what he didn't want, scads of media attention and his squeaky clean image tarnished, his wife humiliated, and the terms of his marital pre-nup dissected.
With so much talk these days about the importance of preserving business models that support journalism, I can't help but think news execs don't do themselves any favors dedicating so much of ever-scarcer resources to stories like these. I get it's hard to ignore it if all your competitors are chasing after the same three people, but at some point it becomes more about the chase then it does about actually thinking of what consumers want news organizations to deliver.