Since those issues of Newsbeat magazine that featured political news on their front cover were the poorest-selling issues over the past three years, the publisher of Newsbeat has recommended that the magazine curtail its emphasis on politics to focus more exclusively on economics and personal finance. She points to a recent survey of readers of general interest magazines that indicates greater reader interest in economic issues than in political ones. Newsbeat's editor, however, opposes the proposed shift in editorial policy, pointing out that very few magazines offer extensive political coverage anymore.
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
According to the publisher of Newsbeat magazine, the issues featuring political news on their front cover were the poorest-selling issues in the past three years. Furthermore, based on a recent survey of readers that indicates a generally greater interest in economic issues, the publisher recommends that the magazine curtail its emphasis on politics to focus more on economics and personal finance. On the other hand, the editor opposes the proposed shift considering the scarcity of political-coverage magazines. This recommendations from both sides seem at first sight convincing. However, neither the publisher or the editor has fully established their lines of reasoning because of some potentially problematic assumptions in both of their arguments that remain unsubstantiated. Before the debate can be reasonably settled and an advisable future business strategy of Newsbeat magazine formed, several questions must be addressed.
To start with, as the publisher argued, the lowest sale over the past three years was observed in the magazines whose front cover featured politic news. However, it begs the question whether the magazines covering political news are really poor-selling. It is possible that Newsbeat magazines have a tremendous success. In this case, those featuring political news at the front page, despite being poorest-selling within Newsbeat, they may be much more popular compared to other magazines covering political news. If this is the case, the publisher’s conclusion will be less convincing. On the other hand, if Newsbeat’s politic-cover magazines are still the poorest-selling issues among all magazines with political coverage, the publisher’s argument would be more logically acceptable.
Furthermore, even if we acknowledge that the Newsbeat’s magazines featuring political news are poor-selling issues by objective standards, it remains an open question whether such poor selling is caused by the lack of interests on politic news for readers. However, there may be some confounding factors that could lead to the poor sales of those magazines but are ignored by the publisher. The publisher’s line of reasoning would be strengthened if it can be shown that Newsbeat magazines only differ in their front coverage. In contrast, if we find out that the average price of those magazines featuring political news is in fact higher than that of others, we may conclude that the poor selling is triggered by the high price instead of the political coverage. In this case, the publisher’s conclusion would be weakened.
Additionally, according to the publisher, a recent survey of readers of general interest magazines reveals greater interest in economic issues than in political ones. This piece of evidence is used by the publisher in support of her stance. Before accepting this survey, however, a new question must be asnwered: whether the survey samples are representative? In other words, could the survey respondents represent the readers for the Newsbeat magazine? For example, it is possible that the survey was conducted among a business firm, in which people are dealing with finance and economic problems as their career. In this case, they might set the focus on economic rather than politics and the result will not be convincing. As a result of this, the publisher’s argument would sound less convincing. However, on the other hand, if the survey was conducted among all of the Newsbeat magazine readers, and the number of survey takers are large enough to make a statistically significant conclusion, the publisher’s conclusion will be strengthened.
Lastly, contradicting the publisher’s opinion, the editor argues that very few magazines offer extensive political coverage anymore. As a result, the editor opposes the proposed shift in editorial policy. Though it seemingly seems indicative of Newsbeat’s uniqueness, a question that must be considered in the first place is what caused the scarcity of politic-cover magazines. It might be the case that people prefer to learn more about politics from TV or internet news. This scenario would explain why there are few magazines offer extensive political coverage. As a result, Newsbeat wouldn’t benefit much from retaining its editorial policy and the editor’s conclusion would be weakened. In contrast, if people still resort to magazines for politic news, and Newsbeat can take advantage of this readership, keeping the current political coverage would be more persuasive and the editor’s line of reasoning would be bolstered.
In short, as discussed, both the editor and the publisher’s conclusion lack of evidence to support. In order to determine which claim is reasonable, we need to consider several questions regarding the interpretation sales data, other factors of the magazine, the representative of survey samples, and ways for audiences to learn about politics.