NA IMPRENSA INTERNACIONAL > A ESTRELA NATE SILVER
Nate Silver, Superstar
Informações de Paul Krugman [The New York Times, 5/8/13]
Over at Barry Ritholtz’s place, Bob Lefsetz argues that Nate Silver’s departure from the Times heralds a new age of journalism in which the individual journalist builds his or her own brand, and the middlemen — like newspapers — lose power. In fact, he compares Nate to Arcade Fire, who pioneered the modern indie rock movement by creating their own position rather than by relying on record companies.
I like this analogy, and as regular readers know, I love Arcade Fire. (I’m also a Nate Silver fan; I have no information at all about what his relationships with other Times people were like.) But there is a problem here.
It’s true that information technology makes it increasingly easy to carve out your own brand; I’ve done some of that myself. But it also makes monetizing information harder; I believe that Arcade Fire makes a lot of its money from live performances rather than record sales, and in any case they have not become wealthy. This is OK for music — great music can be made without super-profitable record companies — but not so OK for journalism, which relies on a substantial infrastructure of non-superstar reporters.
Again, I say this as a beneficiary of the modern trend: at this point I would almost certainly make more money if I cut loose from the Times, since I would no longer be subject to Times restrictions on consulting income etc.. (That’s neither a complaint nor a threat; I value my association with the Times immensely, and if I were money-driven I’d be working on Wall Street). But the Times, or any news organization, depends on the services of many reporters, staff, etc. who actually have to live on their salaries.
Somehow the economics of this new world have to be worked out; but they are definitely problematic. Someone like Nate can become a celebrity and cut free of the middleman; but the people reporting on City Hall can’t, and we need those people too.