Tuesday :: Mar 9, 2004

Look While You Can: There’s a Chart in the Media!


by paradox

Atrios, of course, beat me to it, but itís such a rare occurrence in print media that the great event must be re-blogged: thereís really an actual chart today in the nytís.

It is brought to us, naturally, by the incomparable Paul Krugman. It is well worth noting that this great sign of progress was brought to us by a professional economist, not a trained journalist. Why?

Journalists hate charts. They take up precious space and rob them of their words. The nytís, incredibly, decided the words of Paul Krugman were worth shafting and only gave him the space for 196 here.

Itís one of the reasons journalism in the United States is such a disgrace. Charts and graphs provide invaluable history and context, but the cutthroat time and space constraints, plus an amazing disregard for professional standards, rob journalism of these critical tools on information.

Http publishers, of course, face no constraints in space and happily post charts everywhere, for almost anything. The nytís published this chart in their online edition, but theyíre still trapped in their old way of thinking and publishingóthe content management system they use just mirrors their print run.

One can dream that other journalists will see what Krugman has done, view their own work with an extremely critical eye, and follow along. They wonít because their editors wonít give them the space.

Editors have space for vast amounts of advertising, silly fluff pieces, and even a Sports section, with has nothing to do with journalism, but they canít make space for charts and graphs. If one ever wondered how the United States was ever led by a President who cannot cogently answer questions and received less votes than his opponent, this is a huge reason why. Journalism in this country is an utter disgrace, a pathetic profession where itís considered noteworthy when they simply publish a graph.

paradox :: 7:35 AM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!
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