News travels fast. In some ways, that's always been true. But these days, the 24/7 news cycle keeps reaching dizzying heights of nonstop saturation coverage.
It takes minutes—maybe seconds!—for a politician's off-color comment to be reported, retweeted, repackaged by aggregators and reacted to by bloggers. Talk radio hosts chew on it by day. Cable news hosts sound off by night. And newspaper reporters have a front-page controversy by morning. The ink's not even dry before the ever-churning media machine moves on to the next day's outrage. And while the public says it's turned off, news consumers keep tuning in.
The Cutline strives to break through the steady stream of noise and information.
We'll report daily on the rapidly changing news industry, its biggest executives and egos, and the penetrating influence of the media—whether old, new, social, mainstream or "lamestream."
The Cutline is one of three topic-specific blogs breaking off today from Yahoo's The Upshot, so definitely also check out The Ticket (politics) and The Lookout (national affairs). In newspaper jargon, a cutline is the text that describes an image (what readers would call the caption). Similarly, we hope to provide additional context to the flickering images onscreen by looking inside the studios, newsrooms and offices where decisions are made.
Our aim isn't to produce a blog suited to just one media diet. We want readers who find news and commentary across the ideological spectrum—and on fast-proliferating new-media platforms. They might listen to Fox News' Glenn Beck and read the Wall Street Journal editorial page; they could watch MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and read the Nation; they may spend all day checking out CNBC and business blogs; or they could mainly trust news coming from Jon Stewart or their Facebook friends. Or none of the above—or, just as likely, a healthy mix of all of the above.
It's a big, wide media world out there, and we'll tackle a variety of stories each day—from the ideological cable news wars to the White House's relationship with the press to how news organizations are integrating new platforms such as the iPad, Tumblr and Twitter in their operations. Some short posts will quickly advance ongoing stories, or link to competitors that have a great media scoop. We'll dig deeper in other posts. And at times, we'll go beyond the day's news to examine how media narratives are shaped and coverage of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So who are we, exactly, and how did we pick up the habit of writing about the media all day? Well, I joined Yahoo! in April from Politico, where I wrote a blog on politics and the press. Before that, I wrote the New York Observer's "Off the Record" column. Joe Pompeo, who joined Yahoo! a few weeks ago, had been covering media for the Business Insider. He also worked at the New York Observer, both as an editor and reporter.
Now here's where you come in. There are only two of us to monitor the media each day, getting on the phone and exchanging emails with editors, producers and media executives. So please email news tips, links and requests for corrections (when we screw up from time to time), or reach out over Twitter. And let us know how we're doing in the comments. Here at The Cutline, we look forward to getting to the bottom of the heady American media scene—with your help, and your feedback.
(Photo of Obama on Capitol Hill in March: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)