Trending Today

Quick rundown of Newark Advocate news (where the Advocate IS the news): The Advocate laid off a large percentage of its employees to vacate its printing operation and contracted with The Columbus Dispatch for those services. Well, not wanting to putter around in a big old empty building, quick announcement was that it was being put up for sale (though not quite totally vacant yet…). Then we learned that to contribute to the revitalization of downtown Newark, the new lean and mean Advocate would be relocating the remains of the operational staff downtown. All this revealed in abbreviated news flashes. The national news within the past two weeks was that Gannett (owner of the Newark Advocate) was separating (“spinning off”) its print division (what traditionally was always referred to as a newspaper, the emphasis being on paper) from its new, “everything’s up to date in Kansas City”, online “publication” (no, we’re not back in Kansas!). The two would still be Gannett, only occupying more shelf space for greater consumer choice and convenience. Besides, online revenue from advertising, data tracking sales, etc. are much more lucrative than yesterday’s paper which is today’s cage liner (“There is right now a huge, huge, commercial push or corporate push to collect as much data as possible.” Charles Duhigg, Author, The Power of Habit). Concurrent with that change, the Newark Advocate’s online webpage magically was transformed to a new format at almost the exact same time, one where viewer viewing habits can be more easily tracked, and the data collected sold (mere coincidence you say?). One needs to click on the brightly colored photo icons with their short teaser “headlines”. Gone are the community bulletin board where the viewer could appraise what is happening in Newark on any given day /week without having to click on anything, the short synopsis story under local, national, sport, etc. headings (again, requiring no separate click). Ditto for comments or most commented. In addition, there seems to be a virtual absence of (virtual) letters to the editor within this virtual space. Clicking such a heading might prove to be messy with regard to data mining (so lets leave it out). But one still can click on the print edition for the day, in totality (e newspaper), and get all of this and more. The more being the local in terms of events, calendars, advertising, etc. “You can see a lot by looking.” (Yogi Berra) One suspects that with the “franchise” separating the two aspects, the e newspaper online feature will likewise join the likes of the printing operation in Newark. To learn about the local will necessitate accessing a paper copy.

Analysis told you all that to tell you this. Perusing Sunday’s (8-10-14) e newspaper yields a rather quirky (and trendy) ad on the bottom of page 10. There, next to the internationally recognized logo of the Mickey D arches is “Thanks Mortellaro employees”. Followed by family portrait type photos entitled with location addresses (though all were taken within the same upscale draperied setting). And again “Thank you to all employees”. Ending with the McDonald’s logo, “I’m Lovin’ It,” and a conflated Mortellaro/Mickey D’s logo. This is indeed very quirky (and newsworthy) considering that Mickey D’s is second only to Monsanto in its aggressive litigious enforcement of compliance with marketing, performance and pricing of product line being uniform and homogenous, even extending to Ronald’s shoelaces being the correct color. So none of this is outside the purview of the franchise. Something coded you say? The ad quite specifically does NOT say “Thanks McDonald employees”. Nor is it apparent that the addresses given are those of Mickey D franchise locations. Curiouser and curiouser! Analysis thinks maybe some of overseas culture that America has encountered in the last 13 years has rubbed off on our current domestic one. It was not at all uncommon to read news accounts of “al Libby” as well as another long complete name, both of which were used by one and the same individual, like “Jimmy – the Greek.” Say “the Greek” and you’re talking about Jimmy. Say “Jimmy” and you’re referencing the Greek. But is saying “Eric Mason’s employee” the same as saying “an employee of the Grill’s whatever”? That’s new, and points to the introduction of the local connection to what otherwise is a monolithic (by design) corporate inviolability (the identity of a franchisee is normally treated as discretionary information, like who the landlord of a rental property really is). Which brings out the trending embodied in this page 10 “not the news” news. Covered only obliquely by this blog, the national movement IS for a minimum wage increase, especially at franchises like Mickey D’s. In the news, USA Today style (a Gannett publication), this always comes across as some kind of event taking place “out there” against that mean Mr. international corporation. This is never found under “local.” Here we have the nascent appearance of corporate PR successfully deployed in the reactionary disruption of the unionization of auto workers earlier this year at the VW plant in Nashville Tennessee. It was reported widely at the time that the vote turned out as it did because the various anti-union PACs targeted the employees’ families (as opposed to the employees themselves). Don’t let mommy, brother or son vote that way or the economy of the region (their future) might be in jeopardy. It worked. Now we have McDonald employees, not referred to as McDonald employees, appearing sans work uniforms in family reunion style pictures, being thanked as “Mortellaro” employees; just like part of the family, in family portraits! Why, there’s even a child in one of the “employee” portraits. Analysis has difficulty comprehending that either of the two M’s has figured out a way to get around child labor laws. So what else could it be but an appeal to just being one, big happy family? It is all quirky, definitely news, and very revealing of what is currently trending (“to tend to take a particular direction; extend in some direction indicated” Webster’s).


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One Response to “Trending Today”

  1. Nancy Welu Says:

    Great “analysis”!

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