The Economist

Mark Tuminello’s latest blog post –

Mark Tuminello the economistOne of my favorite publications is The Economist.  It’s been around for so long, it feels like a player itself in the world of international economics.  I have been reading about the magazine a little, and wanted to share some of what I found.

The Economist is a UK based weekly media source, starting as a weekly newspaper with a global scope in 1843.  The printed magazine edition still exists, with a weekly circulation of 1.5 million, though many more access the news and editorial content through it’s significant web presence, like online articles, their YouTube channel, and several podcasts, among other outlets.  About half of it’s printed readership is in the United States.

A little look at the steady long-term growth of their printed circulation…

  • 1877 – 3,700
  • 1920 – 6,000
  • 1960 – 30,000
  • 1970 – 100,000
  • 2000 – 1,000,000
  • 2012 – 1,500,000

This is good growth, but in the world of magazines, it’s a very small fraction of the market.  In the 1990′s, they addressed this in their slogan ‘not read by millions of people.’  Back when the publication began, this was roughly the meaning of economism.  While the magazine has larger editorial stances, more diverse views are expressed by the individual contributors.  The staff of 75 journalists are mostly based in London, where they cover a range of world issues.  Who reads The Economist?  Two thirds of its readership earn more than $100k/year.  They explicitly target educated, influential, policy-making readers.

Over the years, the Economist has endorsed major candidates from both sides of the UK political landscape.  Most recently, the Labour Party was endorsed in 2005, and the Conservative Party in 2010 in general elections.  They have endorsed Republicans and Democrats similarly in the United States.  Some would also find conflict in it’s support of the US wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, while at the same time opposing capital punishment and backing appeals for gun control.  The Economist is also notable for its accusations of dishonesty.  Some of the figures recently singled out include Silvio Berlusconi, Robert Mugabe, Bill Clinton, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

All of these editorial stances are delivered in a rather dry way.  There is a distinct tone that has remained uniform over the decades.  Authors are not credited officially for the articles – they are simply individual articles of the publication itself.  Also notable is the way the authors presume the reader already have a decent working knowledge of economics.  No great lengths are taken to explain concepts, introduce major players, or give background for topics that are discussed.  If you don’t know what a demand curve is, or you don’t fully understand comparative advantage, a little research might be necessary to fully understand all articles.


from Mark Tuminello

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