Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
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Newspaper Explains Itself

Five million in venture funding to the first person who can tell me the difference between "navigating" the news and explaining it, or analyzing it or contextualizing it or just writing it correctly in the first place. The poor news, all these things being done to it, maybe we should let it rest for a while. It must be tired! Anyway, The New York Times has opened its own explainer site, The Upshot, and somehow it's not maddening at all. Maybe a little teacherly, but at least it doesn't seem to hate us.

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Ralph Haygood (#13,154)

The difference between "navigating", "explaining", "analyzing", or "contextualizing" the news, as practiced by the NYT and its ilk, and "just writing it correctly in the first place" is that the latter involves reporting facts implying that certain statements made by "newsmakers" are blatantly false and hence that said "newsmakers" are ignorant, mendacious, or insane. This is, of course, deeply offensive to said "newsmakers" and their supporters. The ensuing melees are considered hazardous to the offending journalists' careers; at a minimum, they're apt to lose their all-important "access". Accordingly, it's safer to stick with "navigating", "explaining", "analyzing", and "contextualizing".

Remember, the NYT is the outfit that asked, two years ago and in apparent seriousness, "whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about." (http://bit.ly/1rkc6yI)

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