Friday, July 01, 2011

Media Value

Dave Kopel over at Volokh was discussing which periodicals to read, and makes the following observation about news media:
For example, the latest issue had an article explaining that Poland is going full speed ahead with natural gas development via fracking. Because I previously had never thought about Polish natural gas, I learned a lot by reading the article. Overall, The Economist is still a strong source for weekly world news, as long as you don’t take its editorial judgements too seriously.
I think that's about right. Traditional media has been good at that sort of job. On any given story, there may be many people who could have done a better job with it. But the brand names were able to guarantee you some minimum of expertise, combined with some minimum of relevance. That minimum is sometimes all that you need. If the article is a bit slanted, or even if it gets some important facts wrong, it was a trade up from what you knew.

That still has some value, but I fear that in slanting ever more steeply, and being caught too many times leaving out stories of important relevance, put them under suspicion. Once that happened, people found that on the internet, they could achieve both minimums with little effort. Now Newsweek and Time are just DC versions of People magazine, pretending they are more.


Daran said...

Unfortunately the Economist has joined the Global Warming bandwagon, and to a sufficient extend that any reporting it does on Global Warming, energy or the surrounding politics must be taken with a large dose of salt.

Anonymous said...

I dropped my subscription to the Economist some years (7 to 10) ago over their AGW proselytizing. I've never read them since because the probability of AGW being the only thing they get wrong is approximately zero.