The Economist’s “Nerd Chic”

In naming The Economist “Magazine of the Year,” Ad Age paraphrases an ad agency VP saying that the publication is “riding the currents that are relentlessly pushing business and global perspectives to the forefront,” and:

I think it has a bit of nerd chic to it — economic nerd chic. When in the recent past have there been best-sellers like Freakonomics? The whole global scene is much more important. Look at things like Angelina Jolie being a U.N. ambassador. It really plays into trends going into the culture right now.

(I know she’s talking about that magazine “everybody lies about reading” but she could almost be talking about that magazine everybody lies about not reading.)

Ad Age reports that advertising and subscription numbers at the North American edition of The Economist — unlike at so many U.S. news magazines — are heading in the right direction. Also different?

As many media outlets have played up their writers and pundits as personal brands, sometimes putting their names in huge fonts and heavy type, The Economist has continued to eschew bylines.

It continues to send reporters to overseas bureaus. It covers seething conflicts in places like Russia and Georgia before they become hot wars. It follows the trends that increasingly shape life in the U.S. before Americans declare them important.

Abkhazia? The Economist had it before it was “hot.” (Back when, for perspective, Angelina only had three kids).

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.