Think-tanks and journalism: Making the headlines

“RATLIKE cunning, a plausible manner and a little literary ability”—the qualities of a successful journalist, according to Nicholas Tomalin, one of the breed—are not traditionally valued in think-tanks, the semi-academic institutions that come up with ideas for politicians. Their policy papers are meant to be dry; their wonks more like politicised civil servants than hacks. But increasingly think-tanks are doing journalism—not just blogging and tweeting but foreign reporting, too. Deskbound journalists, meanwhile, are embracing data and spreadsheets.Foreign Policy, a magazine, now runs “Democracy Lab”, a website paid for by the Legatum Institute, a think-tank based in London. It has a modest budget for freelancers. In June the Centre for Policy Studies, a think-tank co-founded by Margaret Thatcher, launched “CapX”, which publishes daily news and comment on its website and by e-mail. The Centre for European Reform, a think-tank founded by Charles Grant (formerly of The Economist), publishes pieces with gripping headlines such as: “Twelve things everyone should know about the European Court of Justice”.Unlike non-profits, such as ProPublica and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, think-tanks are in journalism more to promote ideas than to inform the public or expose wrongdoing. Much of what they publish is about policy. For…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/international/21618824-divide-between-having-ideas-and-reporting-them-dissolving-making-headlines?fsrc=rss|int

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