They came together to discuss the death of newspapers – and you’ll never guess what happened next

They came together to discuss media – and you’ll never guess what happened next

The problem with media economics, according to one of the academics presenting a paper at this conference, is that economists don’t understand media. One could also say that media scholars don’t understand economics. And neither understand finance.

And the practioners, the few journalists attending this World Media Economics and Management Conference, are probably puzzled by the sometimes abstruse and detailed propositions painstakingly examined in some presentations.

These are sweeping generalisations, admittedly. I’m sure more than one participant understands all these fields and can apply the learning of the disciplines to the burning issue of the survival of journalism as we know it. I personally have been impressed by several pieces of research that I otherwise would not have been exposed to.

Yet a number of number-crunching papers presented here seem to me to suffer from insufficient explanations of the assumptions behind the research; and much research seems unaware of the built-in ideological departure point of the researchers.

I understand that this is not the place to debate, for example, the validity of econometrics or political economy, supply-side approaches to media vs audience-centric views. These are important issues that shape the nature of the research, however.

Perhaps the eminent scholars here can keep these things in mind.

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