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  • Tim Edgar

Competitive journalism


Many of us have already noticed, but the Economist points out this week that the world of journalism is becoming increasingly competitive.

In an article “Making the Headlines” the newspaper says that the divide between having ideas and reporting on them is dissolving. It is largely due to think-tanks, the semi-academic institutions that come up with ideas for politicians and who have never traditionally valued the ratlike cunning, plausible manner and literary ability of the successful journalist.

“Their policy papers are meant to be dry; their wonks more like politicised civil servants than hacks. But increasingly think-tanks are doing journalism – not just blogging and tweeting but foreign reporting, too.”

I certainly remember my days as a journalist when I would wade through policy papers and reports to extract little gems of news. Sometimes there was a bigger gem and jolly useful it was too. But increasingly it seems, analysts themselves are doing the journalism.

“For politicians, policymakers and readers, more journalism means more information and choice. Inaccuracies can be quickly challenged and there is always a second opinion. For journalists, the news is not so good. Twitter, blogs and newsletters can get a think-tank’s ideas to its audience direct. Hence a relationship that used to be symbiotic, with wonks helping create news and hacks distributing it, is becoming competitive – especially in the battle for influential readers, such as politicians,” says the Economist

Making the Headlines was published in the September 20th edition of the Economist.


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