Publisher’s Letter: News That’s News to You!

By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

Algorithms — amazing what they can do!

So you went searching for a new pair of Dan Post boots. You found them and perhaps at a great deal. But what happens in your “real life” especially if you bought those boots in a walk-in store and paid cash, the algorithms that track your every online search cannot detect so for weeks-to-months new Dan Post ads will dog your online existence.

When it comes to material goods, while annoying, that may not be so bad. But what happens if, due to your previously detected trends you now only receive so-called online “news” that is politically shaded based on your previous choices? Receiving only “Democratic News” or “Republican News” becomes a more serious issue.

On top of that, there are loads of important issues being worked on and discussed in your local community that you may not hear about until they are already decided against your best interest. Take the loss of public space where you live — there were public hearings but due to your previous interests, this new-to-you interest never came to your attention until it was voted upon and a “done-deal” in favor of some mega-corporation. And you never even knew it was under discussion.

Change has occurred so rapidly in the past ten years. Many folks don’t fully comprehend what is being lost when they are continuously being prompted to “Look over here!” (pop-up ads are notorious for this heckling distraction). And while it may not be intentional, citizens are being distracted from knowing about some pretty impactful situations going on in the midst of all this busy-ness. As traditional sources of local news keep going under, there is less and less surveillance of elected officials. Unchecked, government keeps getting more and more powerful.

The other thing that can easily be missed in the modern day is that many civic-minded initiatives are being launched and advanced. Identify an issue and you may find that someone in your local community or a community nearby is working hard to effect positive change around that issue. But if all you ever read about is national and a one-size-fits-all type of news, you will not be informed about what’s happening where it counts — where you live!

So what’s the answer? If you’ve read this far, hopefully, you are not just one of our readers but one of our supporters. If you’re a supporter, we thank you. And if you’re a reader, please consider also becoming a supporter so that we can keep on improving.



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Blaine Howerton

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