A new study of technology news from the Project on Excellence in Journalism has a lot of interesting stuff in it, but I wanted to focus on this:
That's right -- 15 percent of all technology stories were about Apple. And most of those were about Apple's awesomeness. "More than 40% of the stories about Apple suggested that its products are innovative and superior in quality. ... Another quarter of stories, 27%, highlighted the company’s loyal fan base. ... Just 17% suggested the products are overhyped, and less than half that, 7%, portrayed the company as too controlling with its products."
There are a couple of explanations one could offer for this general picture. Apple is really, really good at PR, by both creating buzz and manipulating technology writers. When they release a product, they put on a really, really good show. They make really, really good products. And finally, the people who are Apple fans are really, really excited about every new product, making it easy to put together news stories with crazy Apple fans doing crazy things.
We're talking about otherwise rational people who will say to themselves, "The iThing comes out on Monday. I could wait until Tuesday, walk into the Apple store, and buy one, or I could camp out all weekend so I can get the opportunity to buy one Monday morning. I think I'll camp out. After all, I might be one of the first ones in, whereupon I can walk out of the store to the cheers of the crowd and hold my iThing over my head in triumph, as though by making a consumer purchase I had just performed some spectacular feat, like winning a gold medal at the Olympics or climbing Mount Everest. Yeah -- camping out seems like the best use of my time."
I've got nothing against Apple. But there may be no company that gets the kind of adoring press they do, in both volume and tone.
-- Paul Waldman