Essay topics: 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.
Grounding on the supposition that the issues of Newsbeat magazine featured by political news on their front cover were the poorest-selling issues in three years, and based on a recent survey of readers that indicates a generally greater interest in economic issues than in political ones, the author recommends that the magazine curtail its emphasis on politics to focus more on economics and personal finance. This recommendation seems at first sight convincing. After all, it is the intent to bring the magazine more profit. However, further reflection tells me that it is based on several flawed evidences, and does not constitute a logical argument in favor of its conclusion.
To begin with, the arguer assumes that by turning the emphasis on politics to economics, the magazine will gain more profit. This assumption is questionable for several reasons. First, we don't know if it's necessary for the magazine to take this action. It might be possible that the magazine is profitable enough with its current policy so there's no need to change the editorial policy. Second, the author also ignores the expense the magazine has to spend on the change. The cost might be too high to make the gain adequate. Besides, perhaps readers are already familiar with the style of Newsbeat and a sudden change will cause untoward effect among them. If so, the author's assumption would be seriously weakened that changing policy will bring the magazine more profit.
Another problem of this commendation is that the author grounds the claim on the fact that those issues with politics covering front were the poorest-selling ones. This is unjustifiable because there is no detail information about whether those issues were poorest among all the magazines, or just comparing to other issues of the magazine itself? If the answer is the latter one, the author overlooks the possibility that those issues might not sold as good as before, but they were still best-sellers in the whole market. If so, the author cannot conclude that this magazine desperately need a new policy to change the "poorest-selling" condition.
Moreover, even if I concede there was problem with the sales of those issues, the author unfairly assumes that the poorest-selling issues must attribute to the front cover featured with political news rather than other possible factors. For instance, there might be an economic crisis or depression that caused decreased sales in every business. Or perhaps some other contents in those issues were disliked by most readers such as useless star scandals. After all, a limited number of issues can't tell the real reason of poor selling. For that matter, a deeper research on this question is needed.
The last thing I want to take a glance at is the survey on which the recommendation is based. It fails to provide sufficient evidence to justify the authority of the researchers conducted the survey. And the number of respondents of the survey is not shown. If only a few readers take the survey, the conclusion can't be made. Even if the survey is reliable, the conclusion that readers prefer economic issues generally is still questionable. An economic crisis, a depression, or federal budget deficit may intrigue reader's interest in economics in a short period of time as well. Considering this, they might not be interested in the topic soon after. This makes the recommendation of changing politics to economics untenable.
In sum, the argument doesn't provide enough information. Before the conclusion of change of editorial policy is reached, the author should give a more complete understanding of the magazine's sales and the readers' real interests to make this a commendation more convincing.
Time : 40min
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