Are bloggers ever not snarky? Yes, but only when they’re self-righteous academics. Today, I read a post bashing Vox and FiveThirtyEight for not being data-driven. Leave it to an over-educated man like Alberto Cairo to teach us common folk, shucks, why write when we can just read numbers?
Well, Alberto it’s a pleasure to virtually meet you…but your post lacks perspective. Or, what we non-data folks call “news.” There are several reasons print journalism is dying: mainly, people don’t like your boring, corporate news.
Why do I need to renew my subscription to The New York Times or Washington Post when I get my political news from Nate Silver’s site, which is more relevant to me and free. You know, Alberto, outside your academic bubble this millennial generation is pretty broke. We don’t have time for technical data re-purposed as news because we are: working, raising our children and downloading a podcast at the same time. You need to dismount your stallion (see, I can be kind) and see how the rest of the world lives. Please don’t fight progress for the size of your ego?
Alberto bashed these really great news sites because there have been a few documented occasions where technical errors were made but then those errors were made public. Or, in his words, “They promised journalism based on a rigorous pondering of facts and data, but they have offered some stories based on flimsy evidence.” To his credit, he raised several other points like editors should better fact-check and edit which seems valid. However, he doesn’t consider whether or not this social medium is perhaps more interactive than print therefore should not be held to the Old Media’s authoritative standards.
Yes, news is factual but must it contain excessive data? I know this doesn’t sound as elegant as Alberto’s take but mine is that people only have time for news, real news, as in the big picture presented by a trustworthy source. I agree with him on one more point, that in addition to truly amazing news blogs like the ones mentioned and my personal digital favorite Quartz, that longer pieces are still worthwhile…and guess what? Here’s the big reveal: they are called books.
My dearest Alberto,
I somewhat apologize for having so much fun at your expense, but your dismissal of Vox and FiveThirtyEight felt like it came from a bad place. I hope you go to Amazon and cheer up by ordering a book on something really fun like statistics…I truly didn’t mean to pop your proverbial bubble. I don’t think news should be pedantic. After all, shouldn’t someone actually read it?