Jewish World Review April 15, 2002 / 4 Iyar, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Latest news on the marketing of news front is that MSNBC is changing it's slogan to "America's NewsChannel" in an attempt to tap into the country's new-found patriotism. As the third rated cable news network, the new "America's NewsChannel" expects the name and logo to improve their viewership.
Yes. This makes so much sense. It's not the content, it's the marketing. Then I got to thinking. This is exactly what I've been looking for. I've been a writer for some time now and I'm still finding that people are reading Art Buchwald, Dave Barry and William Buckley Jr. way more than they read me. Up to now I've tried to write better or more interesting to build up my readership. But no matter how good (or is it well?) I wrote, people wouldn't read me. Now I see that I didn't have to be good. Readers just had to think I was. How could I be so stupid?
I immediately went to my marketing division in New York. Actually me...here. I needed to begin spitballing ideas. Ideas that would have America stand up and take notice. Ideas that would have people saying, "My G-d, I'm calling my local newspaper and insisting they pick up this column for George Will money."
I definitely wanted to go with a kind of America motif. I've always liked it here, ever since my grandparents immigrated from Long Island. And America seems to be fairly hot now. Y'know 9/11 and all. Most importantly I want my readers to know that I'm not afraid to wear the heart and the flag on my sleeve...unless that's illegal now.
I wanted my readers to know that I write good, but I don't want them to have to go through all the trouble of reading if they don't want. So I need something that quickly said "quality literature here!"and was easily understood by the those of the lowest common denominator. Calling it "Steve Young's Really Good Column" might suffice, but I wanted it to say so much more. I also want them to know that, just like Fox News Channel's "We Report, You Decide," my readers weren't mindless robots who would just take my words to the bank, like in radio. So I thought of calling the column, "EACH READER GETS TO CHOOSE WHAT THEY WANT WITH THE LIMITED, SLANTED MATERIAL I PROVIDE." But I found that this might read too ponderous for mid-America to grasp, and my America includes the mid. Like CNN, I wanted my readers to know they could depend on me, so I considered "READ STEVE AND NEVER FEAR THE FUTURE." But I figured that would open me up for a whole can of litigation and unless I get whiplash from writing, my attorney charges by the hour.
I heard that USA Today was going to go with a slogan of "WE WRITE AND LET YOU COLOR IN THE PICTURES, so I knew that was out.
Then I considered the dramatic success of Bill O'Reilly. I thought that I should let the reader know that I wouldn't spin, but as a columnist, it's my job to spin, so I figured if I spun enough I could make enough of the public think I wasn't. But I couldn't even follow that.
Then again I could go with the steady, no fancy-frills, C-Span approach with something like "READING STEVE IS LIKE LOOKING AT LETTERS SITUATED SO THEY MAKE SENTENCES." Bor-ring.
What I finally determined was that I couldn't get everything I wanted into a single logo, so I did one better. I created a slogan "IF YOU TRULY CARE ABOUT AMERICA, YOU'LL READ THIS COLUMN*" AND legally changed my name to America's Best Columnist, Steve Young. So, what do you think? Too ethnic?
04/01/02: My Uncle Miltie