Tag Archives: Journalism

Journalism, Republicans, and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

I saw a post yesterday from Chris “The Fix” Cillizza that made me instantly think of the self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn’t include this as part of my series on biases in judgment and decision-making, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind. The post from The Fix was titled: “Just 7 percent of journalists are Republicans. That’s far fewer than even a decade ago.” At first, I thought that number seemed kind of low, but after reading through the post (and the primary source), it makes sense — there are less Republican journalists because of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Let me explain.

A self-fulfilling prophecy is exactly what it sounds like — a prediction that (in)directly causes that prediction to come true. For instance, if you say that you’re going to fail your finals over and over again, and then you fail your finals, that could be said to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, how have I concluded the results of this survey to be a self-fulfilling prophecy? “Mainstream media.”

This phrase — mainstream media — is often said in a pejorative manner by Republicans and conservatives who accuse news outlets of having a liberal bias. According to Wikipedia, the use of this term grew in the 1990s. So, if you had a desire to be a journalist and were coming-of-age when journalists were being grouped in with the “lamestream media,” do you think that this is a a career you’d want to pursue? If you did, there’d certainly be an element of cognitive dissonance to your choice. My guess is that you probably wouldn’t make that choice and that you’d steer clear of journalism as your profession. Or, if you did pursue journalism, you’d probably go into thinking of yourself as an Independent. Not surprisingly, as you can see from the graphic below, the number of journalists who identified as Independents in the 2013 increased more than 50%!

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 11.29.07 PM

While this hypothesis might be difficult to (dis)prove, it’s certainly interesting to think about the ramifications of how the things we’re talking about today can and will affect the lives of those to come.

Why Does Respect Fly Out the Window When Women are Involved?

Yesterday, Liberal MP Chrystia Freeland asked — ahem, tried to ask — a question during Question Period of the government. Unfortunately for her (and those watching), she wasn’t given the same respect afforded other MPs. As far as I can tell, this was the first question she’s asked during question period and as folks would expect who’ve read her work, she asked a question that was grounded in research [this one happened to be from the IMF]. The video doesn’t seem to be up on YouTube and all I could find was the link through AOL, which doesn’t embed nicely on this site, so you’ll have to watch the video here (2 minutes and 23 seconds in all).

On most days, Question Period can seem a bit immature, but I took particular issue with this instance because of some of the comments that followed on Twitter. Actually, the comment from the Minister of State was a bit off the wall, but most answers in Question Period don’t really address the details of the question. The comment on Twitter that came from a journalist (!) no less, which has since been deleted:

Part of the reason that it seems so appalling that this came from a journalist is because Freeland herself, was a journalist before she became an MP. I would have thought that if any profession were to cut Freeland a little more slack, it might be journalists. Freeland’s response on Twitter:

Exactly! It’s 2014! Why are we still marginalizing women in such a sexist fashion. I was glad to see Michelle Rempel, a Conservative MP, tweet the following, shortly after Freeland’s tweet:

This was the same Michelle Rempel who came under fire because of the way she posed in her Twitter pic! It’s absurd to me just how awful we still treat women in our society. As Freeland said, it’s 2014, for Pete’s sake!

Beyond all of this, though, I don’t necessarily hold the journalist completely at fault for what he said. [He did apologize, too — twice.] Yes, it was awful and unnecessary, but in a way, we are all a bit culpable. How? Why? Well, because we all live in this society and we all help to create the norms and values upon which we act and behave. One of the best ways to help effect change here: awareness. Go watch Miss Representation and tell your friends to do the same!

If I were the CEO of CNN… (Part 2)

In yesterday’s post (Part 1), I went down a bit of a tangent and really focused on CNN’s potential to become the “go-to” network for fact-checking. Today, I wanted to revisit the idea of being the CEO of CNN and take a closer look at CNN from a strategic standpoint.

Yesterday, I mentioned that one of CNN’s resources was its plethora of international journalists. This is certainly something that needs to be considered when developing a new strategy for CNN. Although, also as I said yesterday, Americans are known for not caring about what’s going on in the world.

Another one of CNN’s resources (intangible, mind you) is their brand. I couldn’t find any hard data, but my guess is that CNN has a better reputation for reporting impartial and accurate news than MSNBC or Fox News. (Aside from some slip-ups, of course.)

As some critics have said, CNN grew in popularity when it was showcasing, “hard-hitting investigative reporting.” One could postulate that this strength grew out of the two resources above. By having lots of international journalists, they’re able to report on the day-to-day news, while still researching/developing investigative reports. Similarly, their brand equity gives them an “in” because people around the world recognize CNN as a news organization that is watched by many people. As a result, someone may be more likely to tell CNN their story.

When examined from this perspective, it certainly seems that this kind of reporting is one of CNN’s core competenciesWhy is it a core competency? It’s certainly a unique strength and it is embedded deep within CNN. It also allows CNN to differentiate itself from its rivals. Unfortunately, it seems that CNN has strayed from this core competency.

So, in addition to yesterday’s conclusion about CNN expanding its “fact-checking” programming, it seems that CNN would be well-served to, as some critics have said, “get back to its roots,” and bring back the hard-hitting investigative reporting that brought it brand awareness.

[Note: I’ve barely scratched the surface on the tools that one can use to analyze/develop strategy. Notably missing are things like a SWOT analysis, Porter’s 5 Forces, the BCG Matrix, McKinsey‘s 7S framework, and the list goes on. This two part-series on CNN’s strategy was meant to provide a taste into some of the things that upper-level management would need to consider when developing strategy.]

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If you liked this paper/series, you might want to check out some of the other papers/series I’ve posted.