"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.”
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
William J. Journey
@DAbitty @ChicoDelainky:Anderson Cooper is a typical Journalist! If it bleeds it leads, if it burns it earns!
7:29 PM - 3 Feb 2011
Sensationalism and journalism have gone hand in hand for centuries.
“If it bleeds it leads = if it burns it earns!”
4 posted on 7/23/2012, 8:57:16 PM by Emperor Palpatine (Tosca, mi fai dimenticare Iddio!!!!!)
One rule of the media: if it burns, it earns.
5:27 PM - 19 Nov 2014
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
REPORT: 24/7 News Channel Ratings Off the Chart for #Ferguson. If it burns, it earns. If it bleeds, it leads.
5:32 PM - 25 Nov 2014
New York City • Media/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Tuesday, November 25, 2014 • Permalink