Opinion

Emanuel Derman

The Complexities of Advertising

By Emanuel Derman
August 8, 2012

I’m attending a meeting on complexity at the Santa Fe Institute, and today there was a panel during which someone bemoaned the absence of science reporting in US newspapers, and mentioned that even the NY Times Science section is mostly not serious. Someone from the UK then remarked that science programming on British TV is much better.

I postulate that you can understand what happened to the NY Times Science section by comparing nbcolympics.com to bbc.com vis a vis Olympic reporting.

NBC, like Google and Facebook is driven by advertisers, and has to deliver you to them. Hence most of what follows. BBC is funded by subscriptions (compulsory ones, for better or worse) and hence can take the high road, which has its advantages.

The NY Times Science section, like Facebook and Google, has to attract corporate advertisers. Case closed.

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