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The Economist

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Steffan Willis By Steffan Willis on
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Every week I eagerly await The Economist magazine, a weekly newsmagazine. It contains articles on politics and society from around the world as well as articles on business, science, the arts and economics.

Editorial Style

The Economist has a unique editorial voice, the magazine is firmly pro-business and free trade as well as socially liberal. All articles adhere to this editorial “voice” giving the impression that the magazine is written by a single person rather than individual journalists, an interesting extension of this principle is that the magazine does not carry by-lines on articles. All the articles are written in an intelligent manner and contain far more fact than many other similar magazines that tend to emphasize the human aspect of the story over the business or social insight which could be gathered.


Leaders – The Leaders section contains several short articles on world news

Letters – The section includes letters to the editor on articles from the past few editions of the economist, whilst anybody who has written an eloquent letter may be published there are often letters from a person directly affected by a previous article; for example Peter Mandelson then the EU trade Commissioner responded to an article on EU trade with China.

Briefings – The briefings section is difficult to summarize as it contains one or two articles on a subject which is deemed to be of special importance by the editorial body.

United States – Articles on politics, the states, education, crime, the economy and conservation all appear in this section, as well as the Lexington column.

The Americas – Articles from all other areas of North and South America are covered in this section.

Asia – Articles about half of the world’s population including the recently introduced Banyan column. This section includes Australia and New Zealand.

Middle East and Africa – Articles on Africa well as those of the Middle East.

Europe – The European section contains articles on individual sections as well as the EU. The Charlemagne column is also included in this section.

Britain – Including the Bagehot column as well as other articles on politics, society and the economy of Britain.

International – The international section usually only contains one or two articles on issues of international importance for example climate change or nuclear weapons.

Business – The business section contains articles on business sectors and analysis of specific companies and products.

Finance and Economics – The finance and economics sections contain articles on banking, commodities, trade, markets and also contains an article called Economics Focus which usually deals with a new idea in economics or a recently published paper, etc.

Science and Technology – The science and technology section contains an eclectic mix of articles, often summarizing a recently published study in a scientific journal or outlining a new gadget or medical procedure for example. The Economist also publishes a Technology Quarterly.

Books and Arts – The books and arts section contains new stories relating to the arts or books, as well as book reviews, particularly non-fiction works.

Obituary – An obituary is published each week of a person who has recently passed away. The person need not be particularly famous but has usually led an interesting life, (note interesting rather than “good” life). The article is often used as a platform to discuss a social idea which the person epitomized.


The Economist is not cheap., at over $2 per issue on the best subscription plan available. However, subscribers in addition to the magazine also benefit from access to 10 years of articles on Economist.com and are able to download the entire magazine as an audio download that can then be played on a computer or mp3 player. The audio edition is recorded by professional newsreaders and actors and has a stand-alone price of $5.85.

Political Affiliation

The magazine describes itself as being classical liberal and so emphasizes with aspects of both conservative and liberal politics, i.e. free trade and social reform).


I would recommend The Economist to any person interested in the world around them. With articles ranging from the Louisiana State Legislature to the latest developments in cloud computing I guarantee you will find something of interest.

The Economist rarely dwells on the personal nature of a news story as many news outlets are given to doing, rather distilling the facts and focusing on the business or intellectual aspect of a story. It is aimed at an educated audience and assumes a basic level of knowledge especially regarding economics, however it is not inaccessible to the lay-man and after a few months reading it you begin to understand most of the concepts discussed.

If you are looking for an informative newsmagazine then The Economist is one of the best and The Economist often has interesting and imaginative front covers.