Which comes first? The chicken or the egg?
A hackneyed phrase, I admit. But the question it poses is relevant to several important questions in the newspaper business.
What comes first, advertising or content?
Do you tailor your content to generate the greatest number of readers (or "hits" or "clicks" on-line), or do you generate content that attracts readers seeking balanced reporting?
Do you seek advertisers first, or readers whom advertisers seek to reach?
This question loomed large in my mind as I read a recent article in The Daily Telegraph entitled “'Astonishing' rise in demand for exorcisms putting mental health at risk, report finds.” In this story, the Telegraph has chosen to sensationalize an item rather than report faithfully.
The title of the piece recycles the war between science and religion so beloved by bores. Not hirsute, feral pigs, mind you, but the dreary sort of folk one comes across in the chattering classes.
The suggestion raised in the title is softened slightly by the lede -- moving the problem from the war between science and religion to the war between science and the religion of immigrants. It states: