Paul Krugman on Arcade Fire, Nate Silver and making money from journalism

AUGUST 5, 2013, 6:40 AM

Nate Silver, Superstar

Over at Barry Ritholtz’s place, Bob Lefsetz argues that Nate Silver’s departure from the Times heralds a new age of journalism in which the individual journalist builds his or her own brand, and the middlemen — like newspapers — lose power. In fact, he compares Nate to Arcade Fire, who pioneered the modern indie rock movement by creating their own position rather than by relying on record companies. I like this analogy, and as regular readers know, I love Arcade Fire. (I’m also a Nate Silver fan; I have no information at all about what his relationships with other Times people were like.) But there is a problem here. It’s true that information technology makes it increasingly easy to carve out your own brand; I’ve done some of that myself. But it also makes monetizing information harder; I believe that Arcade Fire makes a lot of its money from live performances rather than record sales, and in any case they have not become wealthy. This is OK for music — great music can be made without super-profitable record companies — but not so OK for journalism, which relies on a substantial infrastructure of non-superstar reporters.Again, I say this as a beneficiary of the modern trend: at this point I would almost certainly make more money if I cut loose from the Times, since I would no longer be subject to Times restrictions on consulting income etc.. (That’s neither a complaint nor a threat; I value my association with the Times immensely, and if I were money-driven I’d be working on Wall Street). But the Times, or any news organization, depends on the services of many reporters, staff, etc. who actually have to live on their salaries.

Somehow the economics of this new world have to be worked out; but they are definitely problematic. Someone like Nate can become a celebrity and cut free of the middleman; but the people reporting on City Hall can’t, and we need those people too.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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