The Discourse Report: December 10, 2020
Welcome to DiscRep, your guide to the public discourse. I’m Berny Belvedere, editor in chief of Arc Digital.
A brief comment on a notable idea, issue, or policy
The Correspondent, the English-version site of the Dutch news giant De Correspondent, will be shut down at year’s end.
Of course it will. It was always going to crash and burn.
Not because De Correspondent is a bad media organization — on the contrary, almost everything I’ve read about them has seriously impressed me. But their English spin-off project was a disaster from the jump.
Their big fundraising pitch was predicated on opening a physical newsroom in the United States. But once they smashed their funding goal, they quickly pivoted to, Actually, we’ll just hang out in Europe. Thanks!
This was monstrous — a complete breach of trust.
They had raised $2.6 million from crowdfunding alone. And then they just abruptly announced they would be reporting on the U.S., as a U.S. news site, from the geographically nearby area known as <checks notes> The Old World. Whoops.
What I found most obnoxious were the trusted names they used to sell the site. They leveraged people like Jay Rosen, folks with significant pull as Journalism Knowers, to heavily promote them as the kind of publication that does things the right way. Countless Trusted Voices chimed in: “Journalism is broken. But these people will fix it!”
And Rosen and the others who assured us this was going to be revolutionary have yet to face a reckoning. Not even a little blowback. You hate to see it (but you’re probably not even a little bit surprised by seeing it).
My roundup of some of the most interesting recent tweet threads
Audio & Visual
A collection of clips on topics of interest
The U.K. Has Begun Its BioNTech-Pfizer Vaccine Rollout. Here’s How (The Wall Street Journal)
How mRNA Helped Scientists Create a Covid-19 Vaccine in Record Time (The Washington Post)
Why Poland is Having Huge Protests (Vox)
What Will Remote Learning Look Like in 2021? (Bloomberg)
My roundup of some interesting recent reads
- Economic Relief Talks in Disarray as Congressional Bickering Intensifies by Mike DeBonis and Jeff Stein in The Washington Post on 12/10/20
- The Historian and the President by Eric Medlin in Arc Digital on 12/10/20
- Why the Right’s Principled Populists Will Lose by Eric Levitz in New York Magazine on 12/9/20
- Becoming a Monopoly Was Always Facebook’s Goal by Will Oremus in OneZero on 12/9/20
Thanks for reading,
Editor in Chief, Arc Digital