A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 25, 2014
“If it burns, it earns”

"If it burns, it earns” means that tabloid newspapers and radio/television news lead their news reports with sensationalist stories, such as violence. The Crisis Papers published “If It Burns, It Earns” by Ernest Partridge on November 11, 2003, which concluded:

“The guiding principle of local TV reporting remains, ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ – or in this case, ‘if it burns, it earns.’”

“If it bleeds, it leads” is a similar saying. “If it succeeds, it leads” (highlighting positive news) is a newer alternative to “if it burns, it earns” and “if it bleeds, it leads.”


The Crisis Papers
If It Burns, It Earns
By Ernest Partridge
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
November 11, 2003
Watch a TV report of a distant conflagration, and you will hear meaningless names of unfamiliar places. Are the reports accurate? How would you know? Those place names are just empty words to you. But golly gee!, just look at those flames and all that smoke! And looky-there, that fire sure flattened that house, didn’t it?
(...)
At The Crisis Papers, we have repeatedly complained that the commercial media have lost sight of the concept and the practice of “public service.” They “serve” their sponsors, their stockholders, and the political hacks that keep them on Easy Street. As for the public, the media policy appears to be, “serve ‘em bread, circuses, Lacy Peterson, Kobe Bryant, Brittney, Private Jessica, etc., ad nauseam, and they will be pacified.” The guiding principle of local TV reporting remains, “if it bleeds, it leads” – or in this case, “if it burns, it earns.”

Twitter
Laurie Devine
‏@DevineOne
If it burns, it earns. @MacphersonGaz on what it takes for a neighbourhood to get attention http://sn.im/pt0p7
9:29 AM - 13 Aug 2009

Twitter
William J. Journey
‏@Alaskanbushman
@DAbitty @ChicoDelainky:Anderson Cooper is a typical Journalist! If it bleeds it leads, if it burns it earns!
7:29 PM - 3 Feb 2011

Free Republic
Sensationalism and journalism have gone hand in hand for centuries.

“If it bleeds it leads = if it burns it earns!”
-Joseph Pulitzer
4 posted on 7/23/2012, 8:57:16 PM by Emperor Palpatine (Tosca, mi fai dimenticare Iddio!!!!!)

Twitter
Putins Koala
‏@presidentstevie
One rule of the media: if it burns, it earns.
5:27 PM - 19 Nov 2014

Twitter
liberalgranny50
‏@peppersandeggs
They allow the fires to burn make everything look even worse to their audience. If it bleeds, it leads. If it burns, it earns. #Ferguson
10:10 PM - 24 Nov 2014

Twitter
Military Studies
‏@ArmedResearch
REPORT: 24/7 News Channel Ratings Off the Chart for #Ferguson. If it burns, it earns. If it bleeds, it leads.
http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/the-scoreboard-monday-nov-24-2_b247259
5:32 PM - 25 Nov 2014

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Tuesday, November 25, 2014 • Permalink