Sunday, March 2, 2008

Does Anyone Want Serious Journalism?

NEWSPAPERS ARE losing circulation at a pretty rapid clip. Television ratings are down compared to past years, largely because there is just so much competition out there. And the mag business is as difficult as ever (most magazines don't last 5 years).

But here is a story about a British-based, global magazine - The Economist - that is not only surviving, but thriving.

"The magazine expects to show 13% circulation growth in its upcoming filing, on top of the 8.5% jump in the number of advertising pages in 2007,"
reports MarketWatch. "With a circulation of about 722,000 in North America now -- and more than 1.3 million in total -- the magazine intends to crack the 1 million threshold on this continent in the next five years."

The amazing thing? They actually do serious, investigative journalism on a weekly basis. They take a world perspective on events from the war in the Middle East to nanotechnology.

"The Economist tries -- hard -- to reach smart people, eschewing the kind of broad audience that Time and Newsweek target," the MarketWatch story continues. "In other words, don't expect to see Britney Spears or her ilk grace the cover of the Economist."

Do we need to give readers their Britney covers to lure them to read the real news inside the magazine (or newspaper, website or television newscast)? Or will Americans actually read probing reports that don't involve celebrity exploits?

4 comments:

Shana Katz said...

"Do we need to give readers their Britney covers to lure them to read the real news inside the magazine (or newspaper, website or television newscast)?"

The question often brought up is do we, as journalists, need to provide the audience with popular news. Tabloid news such as Britney's day to day life struggles and outbursts may be what is considered to be interesting. But it is proven through The Economist that a magazine can be successful without the tabloid news.

Veronika said...

If we need to "lure" Americans to read news by putting Britney Spears on the cover, this already says something about intelligence, don't you think? I believe that a lot of people think that celebrity lives are interesting, but little realize that it will unlikely better them as Americans, or even individuals for that matter.

I think real news, like for example, The Economist will continue to thrive, but with an exclusive population, the intelligent population. The broader "average" audience will unfortunately walk right past The Economist, and rather choose the magazine with Britney on the cover, because one simply does not know the difference between real news and luring celebrity exploitation. However, I also think that magazines like People will also continue to thrive because of their ability to lure readers. But in the end, it's the readers who are suffering from getting the most valuable form of news.

In a nutshell, to think that one day you will look upon the broad span of readers on the train and see each individual reading TRUE valuable news, with no luring celebrities on the cover is almost impossible, for journalism has taken on the idea that Americans need their dose of Britney. And unfortunately, readers know no difference at this point, Britney has pretty much taken over the cover of every magazine. What is worse is that a lot of individuals know more about Britney's detailed health condition than who is running for President. Once again, journalists hold an sense of extreme power, but WHAT will convince people to put down their Britney luring covers, and pick up their Economist?

Veronika said...

Check this out -
"It’s time for the media to back off Britney. Pop star is lucrative subject for press, but mental illness is game-changer"

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23336567/?GT1=10856

Stacy said...

I think one reason that we constantly see the pages of magazines covered with the likes of Britney Spears is becuase Americans enjoy train wrecks. If we can make fun of someone they thikn is more important then them then they feel accomplished. I say this to show that people like Britney on the cover of magazines because they know at the end of the article they will fell better about themselves.