Inventing The News

Every day, news outlets have to report something to prove they’re alive and to pay the bills. When one focuses on a single company or specialty, that can be hard.

There’s a surprising number of people in this situation, including me (at Allpar). Sometimes, it turns out to be a good thing, because it makes you stop and reflect and dig around at things that you wouldn’t point out during busier days.

delete

Sometimes, looking at a blank morning, I go back to past plans, which I learned from other sites after thinking people would just sate their curiosity with our “upcoming products” pages. Other sites do it, as well, e.g. tech sites suddenly asking, “What can we expect from the new Mac Mini? When’s it coming?” without provocation.

We also tend to think more about daft rumors (usually from analysts and “un-named insiders”). Every hundred or thousand times, these turn out to be accurate (Cerberus did approach GM about a merger, but the terms were so draconian that Chrysler’s leaders forced Cerberus to turn around. Cerberus, at the time, was sensitive to public opinion — they wanted to keep Chrysler Financial profitable.)

Thus, we post stories about what would happen if FCA acquired General Motors, or if FCA picked up Peugeot-Citroën.

FCA+GM

We can also look at competitors’ moves and their impact on “our” company, just as Mac sites can, when desperate, write about how the new Samsung phone (there’s always a new Samsung phone) will affect the iPhone.

Sometimes, this gives us better stories than the “real news.” Rumors of FCA wanting to take over GM spurred me to compare their model-by-model sales. That’s something we rarely look at and there’s a lot to consider. We can get new insights, looking at old plans. (I posted a crude chart for that story; we had around 100 times as many viewers as I expected, or I’d have formatted it more attractively.)  It’s also fun to speculate sometimes.

If you ever wonder about why sometimes you see old plans or old news rehashed, or crazy rumors treated as though they might be real, this may be why. On the bright side, it makes us think — and sometimes, sitting back and thinking is better than most “hard news.”