Continuing to look at one potential candidate for improved journalism.
After sampling for several days, I’m convinced that Straight Arrow News is genuinely trying for objectivity and neutrality.
I don’t think they’re likely to succeed because they’re skipping the most basic definitional element of news: NEW. The website doesn’t seem to change very fast, and at the moment all the front-page items are at least three days old. Small towns could support a weekly newspaper, but a world-covering newspaper needs to move a lot faster than weekly or even daily.
Later: They’re moving again, but still not fast enough or ‘dense’ enough on new items.
Yeah, I know Shannon was actually talking about signal/noise ratio in cables, but like Heisenberg his highly technical rule has turned into a useful broad definition.
The broad definition:
News is new. Information is surprising.
This is also the natural definition of information, embodied in every level of every nervous system. Neurons are designed to ignore unchanging data and pay SHARP ATTENTION to departures from the unchanging pattern.
“News” media have always violated Shannon, and government “investigations” and “revelations” also turn Shannon upside down. Media try to generate fake deltas and fake surprise from totally old and unsurprising data. Deepstate sometimes “leaks” shocking facts like Heat Is Hot or Gravity Exists, carefully reworded to sound new.
Today’s fake “news” is the Pandora Papers, a second chapter of the Panama Papers. Both of these “leaks” tell us that rich fuckheads never pay for anything. Heat is hot. Water is wet.
What’s the point of these specific “leaks”? We can safely assume that they are just another way to kill the competition. The “investigators” are funded by Soros, which should tell you everything. These “leaks” give the government a reason to punish dictators and fuckheads who offend Soros.
Analyzing this type of data requires holding an internal template of all the fuckheads who should be included, and comparing this template with the fuckheads who were actually mentioned in the report. We don’t have a strong natural talent for “what’s missing” questions, so we need external helpers like written checklists or McBee cards or Hollerith’s sorter or Reynold Johnson’s multiple comparator.
= = = = =
A month later: Objectivity is still decent, no convergence or bait-n-switch. The impression of slowness seems to be an odd weekly cycle. They add new items fast from Tuesday through Friday, then do nothing at all from Saturday through Monday. During the fast-add days, it’s hard to keep up with the new stuff, and some of it slides down below the fold before I can read it.