January 24, 2005

CONCEPTUAL SCOOP IS A CONCEPTUAL SCOOP, NO?:

The Conceptual Scoop (Roy Peter Clark, Sep. 1, 2004, Poynter Institute)

The idea of the "conceptual scoop" has at least two parents: Peter Gosselin, who coined the phrase while covering economics and policy for The Boston Globe; and Paul Starobin of the National Journal, who described the idea and its practitioners in a 1996 essay in the Columbia Journalism Review.

The idea of the "soccer mom" is a conceptual scoop. So is the "NASCAR dad." So is the theory of the socially libertarian "Volvo Republican," coined by Newsweek's Howard Fineman.

"As print journalism changes," argues Gosselin, who now reports on the economy for the L.A. Times, "that's our stock in trade: developing concepts that allow readers to frame the news."

Still confused about the conceptual scoop? Think of those Magic Eye art posters, the ones made up of thousands of little dots, so that you have to concentrate and squint to see the larger three-dimensional pattern. What you get, says Starobin, is a "wow of recognition."

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 24, 2005 3:07 PM
Comments

I'm trying to think of one that I thought had any validity. Can't.

But, heck, it's easier to think 'em up than to go out do some reporting.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at January 25, 2005 1:23 AM

Radical Chic

Posted by: oj at January 25, 2005 6:02 AM

Hmm. Would "Godless commie" count as a conceptual scoop? Or just a redundancy?

Posted by: Guy T. at January 25, 2005 8:13 AM

Never met a radical chickster. Never met a compassionate conservative, either, for that matter.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at January 25, 2005 11:21 PM

No? They've met you. You're a dime a dozen.

Posted by: oj at January 25, 2005 11:26 PM
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