So, I’ve written extensively about the ‘Save Jericho’ Campaign, as have a large number of internet sites and blogs. This thing is only a week old, and already it has escalated into an internet phenomenon on the levels that were unfathomable when the show was canceled last week. And, it’s had an impact: CBS executives are apparently meeting this week, although the chances of a season two still seem fairly remote. However, there’s something that needs to be made note of: there has been little to no coverage of the ‘Save Jericho’ campaign in the “traditional” media.
This would be your newspapers. Your television stations. Your major media outlets for entertainment news. These sites? Aren’t quite as willing to jump on the bandwagon. Now, there have been some stories about it in more major news outlets, but there is a distinction that needs to be made.
Those outlets (New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune) are not reporting on the actual content of the Save Jericho campaign, but rather on its status as an internet phenomenon from a group of crazed fans [The New York Times walks a fine line]. They are not covering the ‘Save Jericho’ campaign as something real, something genuine, but rather as some sort of novelty. Now, for the sake of the campaign, this coverage is good. Major papers covering the story is getting press out there, and that’s a great start.
But these major papers are refusing to really pick up this story and run with it: they were unwilling to send media to cover the delivery of peanuts to CBS headquarters, they are tentative to actually talk to the people involved, and on the whole they’re reporting about the story instead of actually reporting the story itself. And when they do it’s brief mentions in their pop culture blogs, not actual articles. And I think there’s a reason for this:
Cowardice. I believe that they are unwilling to engage this campaign as an actual entity because it will be legitimizing the internet as a source of power in media. It will be legitimizing blogs, message boards, and everything else. To cover this campaign in the same way blogs have, these major papers would have to admit that they were scooped, that the same stories bloggers are writing about are worthy of their pages.
And that would change the mass media forever.
David Carless’ manifesto of sorts about Jericho, which can be found here, talked about how Jericho’s success should be considered a battle between Old Media and New Media. At the time, I disagreed: the new media internet mediums existed only to support the old ones. However, I’m starting to see where this applies: when NutsOnline failed to gain much attention with their media release for their nut delivery yesterday, Jeffrey had this to say:
Thanks to the great fans who turned out. We didn’t get the mainstream media coverage we were hoping for and it is increasingly clear to me that this is an INTERNET story, and that we, the little people, have to use our own media – and the more open minded Internet media – to keep telling this story.
Now, since that point they are apparently receiving more mainstream press [Which is good news]…but this thing has been escalating for days and there has been nothing of note. These people at these papers can’t possibly not be aware of the campaign if they pay any attention to entertainment rumblings. Even if they pick up the story, it remains to be seen just how much these major newspapers will be willing to promote this: will be about saving Jericho or about the oddity of the campaign itself? Will it be a kooky story about crazy fans, or a serious investigation of the issues being discussed?
I think that the latter option will only ever be followed by blogs, online sites: I don’t see major news outlets as willing to delve into these issues. While that press will be good for the campaign, I think that a traditional media outlet should step up to the plate (without being coerced) to pick up this story and report it not as “Peanuts gone wild” and instead actually discuss the issues people on the internet are discussing. Is there no one in the traditional media brave enough to tackle these questions raised by fans (Nielsen Numbers vs. Online Viewings, Network focus (Fans vs. Advertisers), etc.)? Blanket coverage is fine, but that only goes so far.
There is apparently more indepth coverage at the beginning of the week: I really hope that someone is willing to step up to the plate, because if they don’t I’m going to bombard them with peanuts until they leave the ballfield in shame.