I’m one of those who believes in a powerful press. I believe any ill can be cured if the problem is properly covered by a very informed media. News = timely, true and relevant. That is the only holy trinity that news outlets must consider first.
Sadly, as we all know, that’s not the way it is anymore. TV ratings are dismal. Unlike the other channels, news networks can’t blame it on so many channels in existence today. There’s about 5 major news channels now, only a couple more since the days of the 3 major networks– NBC, CBS, ABC– of the 1970s. There’s about 320 million people in this country. Let’s see, remove 50 million for babies and kids who don’t watch the news, well, let’s round off to 250 million. TWO HUNDRED and FIFTY million potential viewers.
Primetime ratings (Nielsen) are ghastly. Fox is number 1, with around 1.2 million. Amazingly, MSNBC has been coming in second this year, given its boost by all the election coverage of The Donald telling someone else to go pip off. They actually were doing numbers in the 800K– finally better than Al Jazeera America.
Out of 250M potential customers, news ratings are el stinko.
I can bear support for that statement with my own analytics compared, compared to news flurries and to when news had the ill informed drive to put my eccentric self on the camera.
When my new website The Quester Files was discovered in May of 2015 there was quite the excitement over one section alone– basically the only section I had completed. Yes, it was over EAR/ONS. I started putting it up in December, I recall, of 2014. Early birds trickled in to the 10 or so cases I had up. The clique that follows the case found it early. But then in May someone got electrified by the whole, overwhelming crime spree of EAR. They put it on reddit. My analytics went berserk.
At the high point, 48K + came in one day. The web was on fire. True crime message boards broke out in fights, some taking my side at what I discovered, others condemning me as an alias for, strangely, an Alta Loma private investigator named Jack Gray. The lurkers on those boards comprised an interesting spectrum of legal eagles, media, and victim’s family. Dozens came on to my FB page.
There was no question that EAR/ONS was now the hottest thing in cold case. Eventually, this died off to where I get steady traffic. I can gauge the popularity of each page. EAR/ONS is still by far the most popular section, since it has remained the largest section of the site, as I rebuild it. Quester Files had been discovered before its out of town opening.
Compare this to the flurry of results that came in when I did my Fox40 appearance– zip. Fox and NBC have always been good to me, so this is not being critical. Though Fox is impatient with me and NBC can’t remember me.
Now, June 15, we had a major news release with a press conference full of aficionados. Even the Daily Fail in Britain picked up on the story. My analytics didn’t go berserk, however. The first day, it started building, peaking at 6,793 hits. The second day it peaked at 9, 136. The day after 7,007.
TV’s audience and the web’s audience are quite different, so it would seem. More will come in off reddit than can be piqued by the entire network of news TV and print news. People simply are not watching TV news anymore. And despite what is claimed about how what they report trickles down to the web and youtube, it simply isn’t so, or we must take the word trickle literally.
The Chewbacca Mom got 136M hits on FB when she posted her video laughing in a Chewbacca face mask. She got rushed on GMA and other shows. Yes, that is carnival and True Crime is a serious subject. But still the audience isn’t there.
Nevertheless, the crime spree of the East Area Rapist AKA The Night Predator remains the hottest thing in cold case. I kept fanning the fire, but I didn’t use publicity. I merely used The Quester Files. Perhaps I shouldn’t say “merely.” In essence I used the crimes of the EAR. The dossier is what has so shocked people. They remained shocked at how much he did, but also at how much time he devoted to his stalking.
It was a burden for me to go through it all. I spent 5 years investigating it, traveling to each neighborhood and then those about to see how he had stalked it. Trying to put that section of my site up was a nightmare in itself, one of design and organization of each picture. Laborious amounts of time are paying off, however. People realize that someone worse and more sensational than Jack the Ripper, ZODIAC, the Horrible Headhunter of Kingsbury Run, existed and might still be attainable. He has not yet faded into the safety of time and history.
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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.