Friday, September 06, 2013

The Economist explains itself...

I'm most frequently asked about The Economist: Why are your writers anonymous? Why does the Economist call itself a newspaper and not a magazine? Is the Economist right or left wing? As we are celebrating our 170th birthday, a number of our writers have decided to answer some of these questions in our popular explainer blog. Other explainers include: how do we decide what to cover? And: why do we choose unusual names for our columnists?

It may be that we have good reasons for calling ourselves a newspaper but almost always, when I ring up people for the first time, I will say I am from the Economist magazine. It makes no sense to announce yourself as writing for the 'Economist newspaper' and initiate a bizarre conversation along the lines of:

"Oh, I read the magazine but I didn't know there was a newspaper as well".

"Well actually it is the same publication but we call it a newspaper..."

"Oh, why is that....?"

Cue long explanation which generally I find makes me sound like a prig for pointing out to loyal readers that they have been assuming they've had a magazine subscription for the last 20 years. No thanks. So I'm probably breaching some internal protocol, except I know a former deputy editor who had exactly the same problem and had solved it the same way, but I always say I'm from the Economist magazine. Even though its a newspaper.

Great. Glad we've cleared that up then.