We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Bylines
Quick test: before you read any further, think of an article you’ve read in The Economist in the last three months that was really memorable. Then try as hard as you can to remember the name of the guy who wrote it.
A couple of you may have figured out the catch: The Economist doesn’t have bylines. And yet I’ve only ever met one non-journalist who knew this without being told.
Not only that, but the two publications in question–WSJ and Economist.com–are the only mainline news publications whose content is almost entirely unavailable without paid subscription. Being the
cheap bastard shrewd consumer that I am, I therefore get my news elsewhere.
What strikes me as interesting is that the opposite phenomenon seems to be in play in the Blogosphere. Bloggers almost invariably mention the name of other bloggers they cite in a post. Indeed, in many cases, I know the name of the blogger but not the name of the blog.