Afternoon Reading List 08.16.13.

The close ties of MSNBC and Politico — It’s a common practice for cable news networks to bring in reporters from other outlets for roundtables and panel discussions. But, as BuzzFeed’s Dorsey Shaw reports, MSNBC has an extra-special relationship with Politico. As CNN drifts towards celebrity stories and crime, and FNC sticks to their much-loved guns of conservative pundits, the field is open for young-web-savvy journalists to appear on MSNBC from places like WaPo and Politico, who have an almost-constant presence on the network. MSNBC is third in the battle for ratings, and Shaw says they can step up their game by bringing in journalists from the right, who are eager for an ideological debate, rather than flooding their time slots with liberal reporters. With the 2016 presidential election on the horizon, timing couldn’t be better.

Why you should read it: Shaw not only shows the cozy relationship between MSNBC and Politico, but also offers a suggestion on how to improve ratings, something the network is in need of.

‘News never made money’ — There has been much talk in the years since the web has taken over news about the revenue models newspapers can utilize. But, as Reuters’ Jack Shafer argues, “news never made money.” Shafer points out that ad revenues “have fallen to 1950 levels in real dollars.” The news outlets like Politico and the Bureau of National Affairs have succeeded in commercializing news, it is only targeted at an elite audience in Washington, D.C. Shafer argues that “no mass audience is willing to directly pay for such news outside of the one already served by the New York Times.” But in earlier days of newspapers, it was money from political parties that supported what were essentially propaganda rags, something Shafer says is emerging again with entities like FNC and MSNBC, along with a slew of online publications (we’re looking at you HuffPost and Free Beacon). Shafer’s hope: technology will come to the rescue and save the news industry.

Why you should read it: Though a Reuters-style cut-and-dry column, Shafer puts the current conversation about revenues into perspective.


What is this town, really? — To open her column, National Journal’s Jill Lawrence begins with a warning. She tells readers if they want to feel good about their capital city, not to read NYT‘s Mark Leibovich’s This Town while catching up on “House of Cards.” Then she goes on to show how this town is not This Town and how real congressmen don’t kill other congressmen. Lawrence said she’s never heard of a lawmaker having a mutually agreed-upon open marriage or a journalist sleeping with  a congressman in exchange for stories. The only thing outsiders can make fun of, she says, is that Washington insiders “take ourselves, our responsibilities and national policy too seriously.”

Why you should read it: “House of Cards” and This Town have gotten a lot of press, but Lawrence insists Washington isn’t portrayed right in either one.