Since I've started creating content on a daily basis here in Otsego County, I've noticed a bit of a trend. I hatch an idea, put pen to paper and share it with the world. Romantically, I envision a lively discussion that's fruitful and decidedly on topic.

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As these things go, that is rarely the case.

Just yesterday, I posted an article speaking to downtown Oneonta's Subway restaurant shuttering. I waxed nostalgic about coming to Oneonta in the late 90s, and how that Subway was a de facto meeting place for some of my crew during those years. The article made but a fleeting mention of the food. Their funky wallpaper played a bigger role in the story.

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash
Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

The comments on social media made it obvious that people just glanced at the headline before adding their two cents. Here are a couple of highlights:

Hotdogman L said: "Who the @&^% is lamenting? Their subs are trash and there’s a another subway on southside"

Linda P dropped this comment everywhere the story was shared: "There is a Subway Mirabito on Southside unless I am really out of the loop."

Finally, Mark S commented: "I had to park two blocks away to get a take out pizza from Tino's. That's after making three passes trying to find a parking spot."

None of these comments spoke to the article. Interestingly, this is an extremely common occurrence. The Media Insight Project, an initiative of the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute did a study on the phenomenon of people reading only headlines and proceeding from there.

The study noted "Fewer Americans invest additional time into following the news more in-depth. The survey asked people about going in-depth for news two different ways. It asked whether people generally tried to get news in-depth on any subject in the last week. It also asked, when they recalled a breaking news story they followed in the last week, whether they had tried to find out more about it after initially learning of it.

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash
Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash
Overall, 41 percent of Americans report that they watched, read, or heard any in-depth news stories, beyond the headlines, in the last week. Slightly more people, 49 percent, report that they invested additional time to delve deeper and follow up on the last breaking news story they followed."
That circles back to just about 6 in 10 people admitting that they've done nothing but read the headlines. That number is possibly higher than that. Eye opening for sure.
I'm not expecting this to change, this is how it's been. I can only suggest now, more than ever, considering the national election that's on the horizon, to take time to read the story beyond the headline. Those that do will surely be more informed. Ultimately, my goal is to do just that, inform and entertain the general public.

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