Today’s editorial is about “informational” publications out there. Whether in print, online or on some video platform.

For as long as I can remember, publications (such as “news,”) always seemed to carry the same kind of content.

“Newspapers always tell us the same things. The only things they change are the dates and the photographs and the names of the scenes, the victims, and the perpetrators.”
Crime. Politics. Pop Culture. Mandatory schooling. Laws. Good guys. Bad guys. Entertainment. And so on.

The quote on the right says the same thing in a different way:

Back in the day – those types of publications or broadcasts were only a few.

Limited to those that had lots of capital, or who controlled the “airwaves,” or a combination of both.

Wild West of Information & Entertainment

Once the internet rolled around, that shook up the structure quite a bit. In many ways, both good and bad.

Good, that it allowed voices of others to “reach” almost anyone. It lowered the entry-point for many!

And not so good for a multitude of reasons (not an exhaustive list, by the way):

  1. The “too many chefs in the kitchen” syndrome. With a million opinions (give or take), the main focus of any important societal debate is lost. Forever.
  2. Many “local” publications started following the same tired model! Politicians, schools, governance, crime, etc. What happened to the new model? Now locals are acting just like the big guys they hated in the beginning! The ego dopamine hit they get by “feeling important” clouds their objective judgment for certain. Make no mistake about that. And once that bug “bites” those smaller publications, they can never go back. Stuck in that rut.
  3. Hive minds – Mob rules. Contrary to what should have happened, the internet seems to be creating less diversity in thoughts and ideas. Most things appear to be carbon copies of each other. Just different locations. The same subjects, the same trends, the same buzzwords. Why is that? Not much stands out these days from a fundamental perspective. If they do, they’re hard to find.
  4. Promoting an agenda. Yes, we get that marketing plays a role for the corresponding audience. But most of today’s publications are tailored FOR the advertisers. Content is often centered around them. Almost all of the time, the objectivity is lost (i.e., artificially good reviews for sponsors).That kind of sucks, doesn’t it?  (Same holds true for political support, depending on the outlet – i.e., left-leaning, right-leaning, etc.)
  5. Money still plays a role. While anyone can be “online,” with today’s questionable “search” apparatus, it’s still difficult to become prominent. Large corporations with big budgets can afford the staff to influence the search results. Smaller outfits can still get exposure, but not without extraordinary effort.

Unique voices, real life, practical perspectives

What gets us often, is the utter similarities in most publications we encounter. The same news (what amounts to street gossip amplified), the same kinds of events year after year, the same games of sport (with different winners), and so on. It’s like a broken record.

And tiring, to be honest.

Becoming rarer by the day, are outfits that have strong opinions. Or those that truly offer unique viewpoints or that talk about life from a pragmatic and functional standpoint. A true identity, instead of a well-skilled parrot.

Sure, if you drill deeper into a particular niche – you begin to find helpful information. Like for parenting, home improvement, automobiles, and so on. But the scope of those is usually strictly limited. There aren’t many general publications that take that real-life position anymore these days. The same common-denominator coast to coast. Blah.

And let’s not forget how “breaking news” distracts millions of people from their own lives. Like whatever school shooting that takes place in a given week. Everyone stops what they’re doing to virtually “rubberneck.” The productivity of this nation would improve tenfold if people weren’t so easily lured into changing their mental focus on something that happened hundreds or thousands of miles away from them.

It’s also why you should pick up and read one of those “Our Town” booklets that are available in many places…

Time and a place

As an alternative angle, sure, I guess it can be said there are a “time and a place” for such publications. People seem to gobble them up. Fine. What can you do, really?

And yes, most people are drawn to “stunning” stories about life – which is what today’s “news” is (for the most part). Extreme, emotional, almost addictive to hear about “real life” stories. Much in the way some folks are attracted to dramatic and visual movies as well. It’s part of human nature, we surmise. Which is why they take advantage of it, and why it’s still a dominant force in society.

But to add to your repertoire of knowledge, you ought to read Edward Bernays’ book Propaganda. The man was a genius and by educating yourself about the truly psychological aspect of all this so-called “information” or “entertainment,” you’ll have a totally NEW and PROFOUND perspective about the things people (like you) ingest daily.

In other words – connect the dots is your first step. Then follow the money, as they say. Almost no one TRULY has your best interest in mind FULLY do they? Cui Bono?

Introspection and more perspectives (experience)

The following segment may or may not apply to everyone. Because only with time and experience, comes the ability to compare real-life experiences between periods of (real) life.

For me to remember what it FELT LIKE to live in a world where we didn’t have constant distractions means a TON more than me attempting to express that same true “feeling” to a younger individual.

Even if you’re the best story-teller ever, absolutely nothing beats actual experience. (There are exceptions, however – a small portion of each society does indeed value their elders in many ways…)

The same way most kids shun the advice of their elders in an obnoxious way. “Screw that!” is the most common response. Those kids know better, right? They do… until they realize, they don’t.

However, as my logbook of people I’ve met and spoken to grows larger – you begin (at a much too late part in your life) to absolutely APPRECIATE the wisdom of those older.  You begin to gravitate towards it. It’s a shame it takes people (including ourselves) so long to understand that.

Sure, you have to still “grade” each individual anecdote you receive, and obviously, you also need time and patience to put into perspective as well – but it’s an important exercise to VALUE the words and ideas of those that have been around longer than you. Regardless if they were right or wrong. Put yourself in their shoes.

And don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of incidents where your elders are certainly misguided. And that is almost always because they were misinformed, and thus have become set in their particular mindsets. That doesn’t mean that whatever knowledge or information they provide is obsolete. You just need to attach it to their timeframe and perspective – and use that “new” (old) information and compare it to today. Very valuable if you can identify trends and correlations.

But why bother with people – when you can “Google?”

I guess the previous section kind of led up to this. The advent of our “easy” technology that almost NO ONE questions, has rendered your scholarly elders almost useless (at least that is what most people with a smartphone think).

Almost overnight (translation: about one single generation), practically no one seeks wisdom from those with actual experience.

90% (or more) of the population just “Googles it.”

And what you’re left with in 2018, is search results from companies or publications that did better at Search Engine Optimization than others. Not real knowledge. Just a popularity contest.

Hardly anyone even seeks second or third opinions about subjects anymore. They get their “answers” online – and that is that. Case closed.

In fact, many people commit their search results to memory and even cite those so-called “results” in heated debates. You’ve heard the phrase – “It is a FACT, I saw it on Google!”

That is a SAD FACT, in our opinion.

But back to the subject at hand…

Cookie-cutter and predictable – We can do better!

Almost every “slick” publication we encounter in 2018 (online, print, or visual), appears to follow the same “formula.” Any kind of magazine or lifestyle or special-interest publication.

And that formula is to become successful, primarily in a FINANCIAL sense.

That is the objective for all businesses. Money. Not necessarily a bad thing, per se. But…

Because people want financial success, they’ll shape whatever they do in order to achieve that.

If that means “talking” about things that are more financially lucrative, then they’ll do that (i.e., for advertisers). Doesn’t matter much these days if they WANT to do it – but rather they HAVE to do it in order to meet their so-called financial goals.

This changes people. They move away from their core ideals – and sometimes slowly, over time – become completely different people than they were when they started their endeavors. Look at most successful politicians. Compare their goals in the beginning to what happened over time. Same can be said for most publications. They become corrupt in some sense of the word.

Being true is not always lucrative – not right away, at least

I admire those who “stick to their guns.” Especially with ideals and long-term goals.

Many folks (like politicians who I mentioned above) start out with lofty objectives. Only to completely change in order to get to the endpoint. Most often, that “endpoint,” is typically an individual ego!

That is disingenuous, isn’t it? To be one thing one day, only to be a different thing the next day. Reminds me of that lame online site Jet.com. They started out being a “membership club,” but quickly re-wrote their entire script to be something else. And no one cared, and they were quickly bought out by Walmart for half a billion dollars. What a sham!

But there are plenty of outlets, publications, and channels that HAVE stayed true. And that is admirable. People standing behind their beliefs.

And sure, we’re not against modifying your track along the way – that is necessary at times. But to completely do a 180 seems wrong.

So how does that all apply to NJroute22.com?

This website (njroute22.com) is not about news, politics, social agendas, or anything else. If we had to sum up what this new publication is about – it’s fairly easy: LIFE.

It’s a documented publication about REAL life living near a state highway called Route 22. We bought domains, secured emails, social media accounts, and so on – in order to create an honest look at what it’s like being around a particular “area” of New Jersey (and PA).

Keyword: Honest.

It’s not about pushing agendas. Or attempting to manipulate people into particular actions, etc.  We want to have real conversations with other NJ residents about life in your neck of the woods. And how different it is – depending on where you live. The disparity is insane! Just a few miles – and you feel like you’re living in a different country almost!

Yes, we do have a “free” website, that relies on advertising revenue. And at some point in the future, we will accept compensation for coverage of some sorts (banners, articles, etc.)

But that is a value proposition. If our exposure benefits a local business – then it’s a “Win-Win” situation. And we will always (only) “promote” things that will benefit other people in NJ or PA.

Adding Value is a major component

Most “major” publications have only ONE primary “value.” You know what that is?

Traffic for advertisers.

Their sites don’t provide much practical value to the readers per se, but they provide some value to advertisers – “views.” The so-called “news” does attract viewers. More often than not, it’s some tragic incident that harmed other people (crime, accident, fire, etc.)

A tricky conundrum for sure. Because “value” has many faces. Traffic is certainly a major value, but at what expense? The dumbing-down of society?

Value has many meanings depending on who you speak with. Our objective is to add value where value has been stripped in the past.

What is value in 2018 besides “traffic?”

To us, value means many things, depending on what shoes you’re wearing.

From an ordinary person’s standpoint – “value” means something received. Whether it’s a helpful article I read that gave the author a few cents by reading without ad-blocker, that seems to be a fair exchange.

To “TAKE” something from someone with no reciprocation is almost theft. Regardless of what you say about the “information” that is readily available for free online. Too many of (us) have gotten used to that, no?

But still, providing good ideas, instructions, or information still has value. I know some sites that make six, or seven figures just by being good, informative outlets. It may not be via ads, but rather by generous folks who contribute by donating or shopping at places like their Amazon Affiliates Link.

Being true is worth it – even if it isn’t “worth” it

We’d rather be poor and TRUE, rather than rich and PHONY. (Sort of along the lines of being homeless and happy, or rich and unhappy…)

When it comes to emotional wealth, it’s always better to be genuine and honest (for nothing), than it is being phony and fake for some money. Most people don’t see that and will meet that demise at some point in their lives. It is inevitable.

The number of phonies out there has long exceeded our real people in this country. Their short-term blinds their long-term vision. Happens every time. Sad, really.

Because people have become conditioned to value money and superficial wealth over integrity and honesty. We have theories as to why that is – but the jury is still out on that.

On this site – we will strive to maintain that integrity and honesty.

Never will we “promote” anything we do not truly believe in, (even if it is) for an exchange of money. We do accept advertising, but that doesn’t guarantee a “positive” review. Never has for us, and never will. We will tell our advertisers that all editorial reviews will be published as we see fit – not as they want them to be.

Conclusion: Value, honesty, and reality

With all the superficial nonsense surrounding all of us every moment of every day – one might ask themselves (if they’re capable of introspection), “what does all of this really mean?”

It inevitably means that someone else is looking to extract “value” from you. Most typically it’s money – or something related to money (like social media likes, and so on).

While any business does indeed profit from increased revenue via people who spend money (or page views), it doesn’t always have to be hyped beyond belief.

There are great publications out there for all of us to consume. And in case you didn’t know – for ANY publication (good or bad) to exist – there are loads of people and effort behind them. People are putting themselves “out there” for public consumption.

It’s time to recognize the real people behind honest publications. There are not many anymore, but still enough to create a renaissance of sorts, not?

Now is the best time to identify, support, and patronize NEW, UNIQUE , and INDEPENDENT publications. More than ever. Give up the “easy” results – and learn to identify those others that prey on your psychological weaknesses. The world is not entirely about expensive things, or popular ideas. Life is more about reality, honesty, and pragmatism.

This is our goal here at NJroute22.com.

 

 

 

 

About the author

NJroute22

NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.

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