The Marketing Wizards Behind the Bitter Community Paper Ads

A few days ago, I posted about an unusual ad that appeared in my local subway stop. The ad featured a kid with a broken leg hobbling down a hospital corridor on crutches. The copy read: "Football? Nope. Broken sidewalks. Broken sidewalk stories won't win us a Pulitzer, but they could keep you out of the hospital. Your Community Paper. Told ya." (Copyranter suggested an alternative headline: Buy Our Paper or We'll Break the Kid's Other Leg.) The ad was mysterious because the sponsor didn't see fit to identify itself. As far as I could tell, it was just a big anonymous passive aggressive note in my subway station. The other day, my partner Darcy spotted the submerged blue truck ad. (Best line: "Sometimes people even listen to us.") I'm happy to tell you that, exemplifying the best tradition of local reporting, J. David Goodman of the New York Times cracked the case of the mystery ads.

Goodman reports that the ad is part of a $4 million statewide advertising campaign sponsored by the New York Press Association.

"We wanted to get a more positive story out there about newspapers," said Michelle Rea, the association’s executive director, "trying to remind people of the value that local newspapers provide." [NYT]

A more positive story about newspapers? Like how the world is going to hell because idiots like you don't read community papers to learn about broken sidewalks and rickety guardrails?

Here's a positive story: Spend that $4 million to hire a small army of ambitious young journalists and pay them a living wage to expose corruption, pollution, waste, and injustice. Give them space and time to dig deep and write about issues that matter. The public will clamor to read what they write. Problem solved.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.