In Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success, there’s an interesting reflection on pg 46 about Trump’s first experience of being in a newspaper:
In his third year at the academy he earned a headline in the local paper—“ Trump Wins Game for NYMA”—and the experience was almost electrifying. “It felt good seeing my name in print,” he said fifty years later. “How many people are in print? Nobody’s in print. It was the first time I was ever in the newspaper. I thought it was amazing.” This first brush with fame could be seen as the spark of a fire that would eventually light all of Trump’s life. The notice in the paper made him real, and heroic to people who weren’t even at the game. Fame also established that Donald Trump was a special boy. His deep appreciation for the experience shows that he understood that a great many people wanted fame but almost all of them fail to achieve it.
This highlights an interesting relationship between the psychological pay off of fame and the media conditions within which it becomes possible. Contrast this to our contemporary content eco-system: is internet celebrity devalued because everyone can immediately publish in the way that only the richest and most powerful can get themselves in newspapers?
No, because the distinctions change as the infrastructure does – now the challenge is being ‘heard above the din’ rather than the simple fact of appearing in a publicly recorded way.