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Amazon wants to start producing local “crime news” to increase the value of their surveillance doorbell

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Privacy-stealing, but otherwise largely useless Internet of Things (IoT) gizmo meets dystopian reality TV disguised as news – at your very doorstep!” – now there’s a headline Amazon’s future managing editor for all things “Ring” would never sign off on – and not only because it’s so cumbersome.

But maybe a news pro should consider it after all – as it does sum up the situation around the US retail giant’s latest “services/media/entertainment crossover” effort reasonably well.

So what in the IoT world is going on? As the Nieman Journalism Lab is reporting, Amazon has announced plans to hire a person to manage “a team of news editors to deliver breaking crime news alerts to our neighbors.”

And where will the crime news be coming from? Why, from Amazon’s own “smart” “Ring” doorbell device – an IoT asset the giant paid over a billion dollars for, just last year. This investment obviously must be put to good use – and if you think that’s necessarily by providing paying customers with safe homes thanks to Amazon’s networked security cameras, aka, “Ring,” installed at their door – you may want to think again.

That’s because there will always be a much more lucrative market out there to tap into – that of clickbait and fear-mongering. It’s one that normally requires a “media outlet” of some kind – in Amazon’s case, at the very least, some media people.

According to the report, Amazon is looking to hire an editor with “five years’ experience in breaking news, crime reporting, and/or editorial operations, and three years in management.”

In addition, the ideal candidate will have “a deep and nuanced knowledge of American crime trends (…) strong news judgment that allows for quick decisions in a breaking news environment” – and of course, be extremely social media-savvy.

The Nieman Lab article brings up lengthy accounts of historical research and pollster data concerning crime incidence – and crime perceptions in the US – that show the actual figures in steady decline – but then goes on to blame “local media – especially local TV news” as largely culpable for “mistaken beliefs” to the contrary.

However: local media vs. human nature – i.e., people’s fascination with danger as a means to identify and avoid it – which really comes first? In any case, Amazon certainly didn’t get its foot in pretty much every door – pun entirely intended – by being thoughtful or indeed, scrupulous. So now the company simply appears to be playing up both people’s fear of danger, and their fascination of it.

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