Good Old News

Clive Crook on Walt Mossberg:

I never miss his column, even though I cannot remember a single occasion when it told me something I didn’t already know. (There must have been some; they just don’t spring to mind.) Do not misunderstand me: Mossberg’s popularity is entirely deserved. There is something very satisfying about reading an engaging, straightforward, intelligible treatment of familiar facts. It is a rare treat. They should teach that in journalism school.

This is a powerful idea, I think, and one which the best politicians understand intuitively: if you say something which everybody already knows, that doesn’t automatically make you boring.

Journalists live to report the "news" – something new, something different. The idea of recapitulating the already-familiar is, as a rule, scorned. But if Mossberg can do it, others can too – although I’ll admit I’m having difficulty coming up with examples. Might Brian Burrough on Bear Stearns count? Maybe if he hadn’t felt the need to add something new by speculating about a cabal of short-sellers, he would have done.

This entry was posted in Media. Bookmark the permalink.