Case Study: Why I don’t need to pay for news

I learned yesterday viaTwitter that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham would not be supporting the Kerry-Lieberman climate & energy bill that he helped to craft.  Grist reporter David Roberts tweeted: Profile in Courage: Lindsey Graham now says he’ll vote against #climatebill. Not enough offshore drilling left. http://bit.ly/bHraHO The link, to National Journal, requires a subscription and …

The future of paying attention

Nicholas Carr has a short piece in The Wall Street Journal reiterating his argument that the web is “turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers.”  (More Carr here and here.)  Is the web uniquely full of “constant distractions and interruptions”?  Carr drives home his point with a comparison to another medium: It is revealing, and …

Framing your friendships

Two things are indisputably true of Tyler Cowen: he has an interesting mind, and he has an economist’s mind. This struck me as I was reading Chapter 4 of Create Your Own Economy, titled ‘IM, Cell Phones, and Facebook’.  It’s a quirky (and occasionally funny) chapter about how our choice of communication platform impacts our …

Tyler Cowen on cultural literacy

I’m reading Tyler Cowen’s book Create Your Own Economy and I’ll be posting thoughts and snippets as I go.  Here’s Cowen on the new cultural literacy: What cultural literacy means today is not whether you can “read” all the symbols in a Rubens painting but whether you can operate an iPhone and other web-related technologies.  …

Google’s optimism

There’s plenty to discuss in James Fallows’ excellent Atlantic piece on how Google plans to save the news industry.  It has some good background on what’s hurting the industry, notes that hard news never made money, touches on un-bundling and re-bundling (aggregating), and plenty more. I want to briefly highlight two points.  First, Google is …

Sachs on our policy discourse

Economist Jeffrey Sachs has a column in Scientific American complaining about the dismal state of policy discourse in the U.S. In general, our political system regularly puts around the table people who are not the best equipped to find deep solutions to our problems. Certainly it has also done so on climate change, with the …

Civics vs. culture

A friend objected to my post Subsidizing the Style section on the grounds that I was discounting the social value of newspapers’ cultural content.  Fair enough.  The Times, and newspapers more generally, obviously contribute to our cultural conversation and that’s important. But if tomorrow newspapers disappeared entirely which would suffer more: our civic discourse or …

Social media, email and relationship inflation

Umair Haque has a post at Harvard Business Review advancing the following hypothesis which he dubs “relationship inflation”: Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn’t connecting us as much as we think it is. It’s largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships. A year ago I was blogging …