Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Liked the Show? Maybe It Was the Commercials"


This article wasn't really newsworthy or timely, but it was still interesting. The article details evidence from several studies that "commercials make T.V. programs more enjoyable to watch." There are some good quotes from the expert sources, especially when talking about reactions that people have to this research. The article's topic is a simple idea to grasp because the writer avoids scientific jargon. He uses specific word pictures to drive home a point. By describing "a mind-bending trek through the Australian outback," "listening to vacuum cleaner noise" and "a morning in the hotel hot tub," he defines the experiences that the article is approaching scientifically, but makes them accessible to the reader's imagination.

The article is very focused and drives its point home again and again, but using different sources. At one point, I scrolled back up to the top of the article because I thought he was using the same source the entire time: that's how cohesive all of his quotes and the studies behind them are. At the very end, though, he does admit that not all pleasurable experiences are enhanced by interruption. Again, he uses an easily understood example: artist or musicians being lost in their work who are stopped by the lunchtime whistle.

Overall, this was just a fun read. It's more like trivia information than anything else; it has no broader application or extension into a person's life, other than understanding why the strategically placed commercial breaks in The Bachelor make it that much more intense.


  1. Sweet comments!

    i think that what makes this article "news" is not necessarily the "timeliness," Maybe the "oddity," or "human interest"? Maybe it's not news at all. Anyone else have thougts?

  2. It's news if we say it is, right? If i watched the bachelor I'm sure i'd appreciate the joke at the end more. Anyway, sounds like the author made the best of a somewhat soft topic by using fun examples.

  3. I DO watch The Bachelor, and I do appreciate that joke hahaha. However, I do feel the light-heartedness of the piece and the writing-style was appropriate to the subject!

  4. This author has come up with a really good topic. I don't know many people who enjoy commercials on days other than Super Bowl Sunday (sometimes not even then). But Carey found information that turns a hatred for commercials on its head; even though we may find them annoying, we actually enjoy them.

    I like his light-hearted style you guys are referring to, it is definitely appropriate for the topic. I also really like the lead. I am fascinated with leads now that I have discovered how hard it is to write a good one. But the list works well for Carey's article. It gets us thinking, offers variety and it's also blind. We know we're talking about interruptions but we can't see the television connection until the third paragraph.

    I noticed the author uses one method that works for professionals but not for students. The tone of this piece and the fact that the guy works for the New York Times makes the question after the lead work. A less experienced author may have irritated readers with the use of the question. Maybe it works because it is not the only part of the lead, either way I think I am going to stick to the plan and avoid using a question in the vicinity of my leads.

    I agree with your comment on the sources. They flow nicely but so does the rest of the article so it's no suprise. I really wish the articles I have been reading for the Trib's health beat were this entertaining!

  5. I'm always intrigued by these study-based articles. They explain the "Taxi" viewing session in the most cursory manner. I'd like to know more about the experimental and control groups.