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James Naisbitt based his identification of megatrends on a monthly content analysis of several thousand local newspapers. He and his staff counted the number of column inches devoted to the coverage of various kinds of events. Megatrends revealed themselves as phenomena that captured large numbers of column inches.
Naisbitt's rationale for this method is that every day, newspaper editors have to decide the allocation of a fixed amount of space (the "news hole") to the stories reported. If an editor needs more column inches for coverage of events in category A, then there will be fewer column inches left for reporting stories in some other category. Editors make these decisions on very short-term considerations in response to specific events; they don't fret about what a distribution across topics "should be."
As Business Horizons begins its last year of installments of the twentieth century (never mind the purists who contend that 2001, not 2000, starts the next millennium), I thought I might use a …