On McDonald’s burgers not aging

You have let me down, internet. Earlier in the week, a to do was made about the artist Sally Davies and her series of 137 daily photographs of a McDonald’s Happy Meal. The upshot is that McDonald’s Happy Meals when left out on the counter don’t really change much (as most food wouldn’t in a low humidity environment). There’s supposed to be a big shock.

Let me tell you, reader, there was. The first time I saw this story. On March 3rd of this year, BabyBites.info posted a photo of their year old Happy Meal (2 weeks later, BoingBoing posted via Consumerist). Three weeks after that, Sally Davies started her daily photo project. I don’t know if Sally Davies was inspired to start her project after seeing any of these stories, but even if she wasn’t I can’t be the only one who remembered we saw similar pictures 6 months ago. It’s not even like this was last year. I’m going to go take a minute, you get back to me when you want to share original stuff I won’t care about 5 minute from now.

McDonald's Burgers

OK, OK, people have been leaving McDonald’s burgers out forever. Jason reminded me of this, while Hubs reminded me of this Supersize Me bonus. And we must never forget one of the original internet experiments, the stinkymeat project.

On McDonald’s burgers not aging

A Month’s Worth of Links About Newspapers

I Read The News Today Exhibition, The British Library [120709]
Photo by Flickr user danielweir.esq

It’s important to note when discussing the problems at newspapers that spending on advertising is down almost EVERYWHERE, not just in newspapers. Industries that are dependent on ad dollars, of which Big Newspaper is just one, are all hurting. Yes, circulation is down, but there aren’t less people reading the news necessarily, there are just less people subscribing to newspapers. If newspapers were able to charge higher fees for online advertising, they’d be in much better shape, obviously.

On that note, I noticed I had about a zillion tabs open related to the newspaper industry and I thought I’d collect them all here.

Via Daring Fireball, The Awl, demanding context from how bi-annual newspaper circulation numbers are typically reported, put together a chart showing newspaper circulation over the last 2 decades. It’s pretty if you like looking at line graphs with dramatically plummeting line graphs. The LA Times’ fall is breathtaking in its suddenness, and circulation is down 10% across the board.

In supporting Steve Coll’s idea that newspapers should be nonprofits and in attempting to determine the value of local newspapers, Clay Shirky decides to do a “news biopsy” on his hometown newspaper, the Columbia Daily Tribune. From his biopsy, he finds that only 1/6 of the newspaper is “created news” or content created by the newspaper’s 6 reporters and those 6 reporters work for a newspaper with 59 employees.

The city desk editors and the copy chief make the work…more valuable than it would otherwise be. But you can pick any multiplier you like for necessary editorial and support staff and that number, times six reporters, won’t be a big number. In particular, it won’t be 59, or anywhere near it.

His conclusion? “There are dozen or so reporters and editors in Columbia, Missouri, whose daily and public work is critical to the orderly functioning of that town, and those people are trapped inside a burning business model.”

Also commenting on the “the power and necessity of local reporting” Esquire.com uses the recent Samoan earthquake/tsunami as an example of the big guys besting the little guys.

Newsosaur looked into pay walls and found that paywalls might never come because publishers are realizing they can’t afford to lose the traffic a paywall would cost. Which is good news, because some columnists are quitting over paywalls. At the end of the Newsosaur’s piece, there is bleating from Stephen Brill that, “You are misinformed about folks being less inclined” to add paywalls. Stephen Brill, by the way, founded Journalism Online, a company dedicated to helping publishers charge consumers for content, so, you know, he might be biased. (Journalism Online has a funny section of their site called Why Readers Will Pay For Online News, which features several different newspapers talking about why people SHOULD pay for news, but not why they WILL. That’s a distinction worth making.)

Finally, via Kottke, Daniel Gross has a piece in Slate that says despite the falling circulations numbers, it’s not as bad as you think. Several publishers were able to raise subscription revenue by raising subscription costs enough to make up for canceled subscriptions. “This is the new emerging model—cutting costs, raising prices.”

I debated whether to include this last one because I kind of hate Megan McArdle’s writing. I figured since I had already read her post and linked it, I’d leave it there for you to decide if you want to read it or not. Here’s Megan McArdle doing what she does best, spewing confusing nonsense. She doesn’t add anything to the conversation, but wants you to know she’s very concerned about the future of journalism.

A Month’s Worth of Links About Newspapers

Two Links from Two Weeks Ago

Two links from two weeks ago that you may or may not have seen, but I had saved to share and not gotten around to it yet.

The Yes Men sent out a hoax press release from the US Chamber of Commerce saying they had changed their position on climate change. Obviously the media was interested in this so the Yes Men rented a room at the DC Press Club and gave a fake press conference. Then it gets really awesome when a representative of the Chamber shows up and shuts down the presser. And now, they’re getting sued for it

Via TPM.

If you saw the profits made by the big banks last quarter and wondered how they were doing it, Philip Greenspun has an answer:

Because of the Collapse of 2008 financial reforms, the big investment banks are able to borrow money from the U.S. government at 0 percent interest. Then they can turn around and buy short-term bonds that pay 2 or 3 percent annual interest. Now they’re making 2 percent on whatever they borrowed. They can use leverage to increase this number, by pledging some of the bonds that they’ve already bought as collateral on additional bonds.

It’s all so awesome, isn’t it?

Two Links from Two Weeks Ago