martes, noviembre 13, 2007

El periodismo por The Economist

En su libro La Hora de los Gurús, John Micklethwait contaba la historia de la consultora CSC Index, que para ganar prestigio mandaba a comprar enormes volúmenes de los libros que publicaban y así encabezar las listas del NYT. Algo que ocurre en todos los países (Chile tiene casos notables), pero que rara vez se investigan. a diferencia de muchos medios, el The Economist no ha perdido la brújula y sabe que el prestigio está íntimamente relacionado a la calidad de información que entregan y el conocimiento de su audiencia. El editor en jefe de esta revista inglesa dio una entrevista que vale la pena leer, especialmente para ver cómo un medio tradicional se enfrenta a los cambios producidos por internet, a los desafíos de la escasez del tiempo y cómo consigue aumentar sus ventas en 107% desde el 2000, mientras muchos ven sus empresas caer.
Por David Hirschman
Tell me a little about the special report on religion you have been working on lately.
The big idea behind it is the idea that if you look at the century going forward, I think religion is going to play a much larger role in politics than it did in the past century. I think there was an attempt -- in some ways a rather benign attempt -- to push religion out of politics in the 20th Century. In some cases it was disastrous: in the case of communism and fascism. But what seems to be happening now is that you have religion growing in a large number of places, and largely it is religion by choice, rather that "religion from above."… And this is changing quite a lot in politics, because if you choose to be a certain religion, then it's more likely that you are going to have a public interest in views connected to that religion being put forward.

This kind of project doesn't seem like the kind of thing the editor of a major news magazine usually does. Is this part of the job description as editor of The Economist?
The advantage of going off to do a long story is that it allows you to sort of recharge your intellectual batteries a bit, and ideally the subject is something about which you know a bit but not a huge amount. It's a way of pulling more into your world. [My predecessor, Bill Emmott] went off and did one on the 21st Century ... he did stuff on capitalism, as well. It's the kind of thing that Economist editors have always done. It's a nice indulgence that you get five weeks to go and do it. It's not built into the job description, and [laughs] about three-quarters of the way through it you wonder exactly why you are doing it, because vast amounts of your day job still come back and hit you. But, in general I think it's a good idea; you learn a lot.

Who is your target reader these days, and if you had to sum up the mission of the magazine under you, what would it be?
I think the mission of The Economist under me is not very different from what it's been under my predecessors. It's been a mixture of, on the one hand, trying to grow the circulation and expand; we think there is an ever-growing number of people around the world who are not interested in not just good coverage of where they are, and also of the world around them, because your world can get dramatically changed by things happening miles and miles away. That said, if we just sat there and though, "We want to just write global stories," that wouldn't work. I think the key is to write about every region of the world, and to do it in such a way as to compete with the local press where you are. I think if you can tell a good story then it travels.


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