It probably doesn’t shock you that I feel pretty strongly that journalists who intend to cover business and politics should have to take courses in economics, statistics and political science. This is especially true as news articles seem to be taking an increasingly editorial slant- if nothing else, how can a journalist know what questions to ask unless they know at least the basics of the subject matter they are covering? Some of my public administration students complain about having to learn economics and/or econometrics, for example, since they know that they are never going to be the ones running regressions or doing quantitative analysis. What they fail to realize is that a basic subject matter knowledge is required in order to be able to tell whether, oh, I don’t know, a politician is trying to feed them a line of BS. Think about it- if everyone understood basic economics, it would be way more difficult for politicians to get away with making economically nonsensical points, right?
Anyway, here is what might happen if political scientists wrote the news articles. An excerpt:
Obama now faces some of the most difficult challenges of his young presidency: the ongoing oil spill, the Gaza flotilla disaster, and revelations about possibly inappropriate conversations between the White House and candidates for federal office. But while these narratives may affect fleeting public perceptions, Americans will ultimately judge Obama on the crude economic fundamentals of jobs numbers and GDP.
On the down side, if political scientists wrote the news we would probably get more affect/effect mishaps. (see the first paragraph) What if economists wrote the news? Well, you would probably get…uh, what you see here. You’re welcome.