In an environment where newspapers, newsweeklies, and TV news are losing market share like sinking ships, NPR and the Economist are thriving. Why? Well, posits Ezra Klein, the explosion of Internet news threw small-pond big fish into the ocean. Those who couldn’t keep up turned to opinion, creating a veritable whirlwind of new content—and the need for someone to parse it. Enter public radio and the British journal.
The magazine had a record year in 2009, and NPR's market share has grown 100% in the last 10 years “precisely because they both situate themselves firmly between news and opinion, in that netherworld I think of as analysis,” writes Klein in the Washington Post. Along the way, both “morphed into statements.” Economist reader: “smart and worldly”; NPR listener: “non-confrontational, college-educated, sightly-crunchy.” Stereotype? “Sure,” Klein writes. “But it's working for the station's merchandise department.”