Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why Economist must be the role model for Online Journalists

Comparing struggling newsweeklies Time and Newsweek to the thriving Economist, Matt Pressman points out the difference between being yourself and trying to please somebody:

...instead of filling their articles with self-serving quotes from government ministers you’ve never heard of, The Economist’s correspondents just give you the essential facts and a meaningful takeaway, whether the information came from their own reporting, the local press, or some obscure think tank.
The Economist was one Western Product even Mahatma Gandhi liked.

Time and Newsweek magazines are 'Readers' Digest meets People' for the kind of people who are now getting their time-pass fix from online sources.

What makes The Economist different and successful?

1. It is about saying the truth as it is. Do more than original reporting and analysis. Blunt is good.
2. Fluff is bad.
Worse is fluff disguised in useless, fawning interviews. The Economist is sparse with praise and full of constructive criticism.
3 Do not listen to customers. Despite what you may have heard about Americans ignoring global news, The Economist will cover news from Bangladesh if it is important enough.
4. Be useful: Give actionable intelligence rather some self-serving interview with some corporate 'hero'.
5. Bylines do not matter if the words and ideas are too good to gloss over.

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