Sobre la falta de “análisis” en la prensa británica

Richard Addis, former Daily Express editor and Daily Mail executive, recently conducted a study that examines the scarcity of analytical articles* among the UK’s top daily newspapers.  Of the seven dailies involved in his research (Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, Telegraph, Daily Mail, and Daily Express), the average percentage of their articles considered ‘analytical’ was only 6.5%, compared to 22.3% of ‘opinion’ and 71.1% of ‘news’.  Although there is no comparable data set from ten years ago that Addis could have referenced to show the change in the proportion of ‘analysis’ within UK dailies, his “hunch is that this percentage would have been higher” in the past.

Addis explains that during his time at The Express, he “used to commission two or three ‘experts’ per day to explain what was going on.  It was hard and expensive but satisfying to get a Nobel prize-winner or at least a university lecturer” to analyze a wide range of topics.

Despite Addis’ belief that “explanatory, analytic writing is the most valuable content a newspaper can deliver”, he goes on to note, “it is not hard to see the reasons why it may have declined.” His three explanations for the decline in analysis are the high cost of hiring specialists, the pressures imposed by decreasing pagination and increasing ad ratios, and the fact that “not many readers’ focus groups will report back that they love the analysis in a paper.”

However, he is convinced that “analysis sells,” and cites The Economist, The Week, and the Financial Times as “profitable and thriving” examples of analytical publications.

But this assertion that “analysis sells”, isn’t evidenced in his data.  Of the seven newspapers included in Addis’ study, the three with the largest daily circulation (Daily Mail, Telegraph, and Daily Express) that provide the most ‘news’ are the only three below the 6.5% analysis average.  Furthermore, Daily Mail, which has more than three times the amount of daily circulation than the second most circulated paper in the study, has a meager .5% of analysis.  

These figures suggest that the most popular papers are those that focus on ‘news’ rather than analysis, so does it make sense for them to introduce more analytical articles?

It is necessary to note that of the three papers that sell the most – the same three papers that provide the most ‘news’ and the least ‘analysis’ – two of them (Daily Mail and Daily Express) are tabloids.  One could possibly conclude that ‘tabloid news’ should be its own category, and that the amount of ‘tabloid news’ rather that ‘news’ or ‘analysis’ is the truest indicator of a newspapers’ circulation success.

As audiences consume breaking news via their computers, tablet apps, or mobile apps more now than ever before, some theorize that because newspapers cannot update themselves instantaneously, they will take a back seat to these alternative news sources in some areas, and concentrate more fully on providing analysis and context on the issues of the day. Could this course be a wise one to take? Are newspapers indeed currently lacking in analysis?

*He defined ‘analysis’ as an article with at least 50% of its content focused on background information and various arguments.
He defined ‘opinion’ as an article with at least 50% of its content made “the case supporting the writer’s view.”


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