What if the rankers ranked newspapers?
"Lots of people rank colleges these days, and most of the rankers are in the news business," notes Daniel de Vise. They practice what many believe is "an arbitrary, empty exercise in statistical manipulation that panders to the worst sort of list-making impulses." What if someone ranked newspapers the same way? De Vise does that, considering journalistic pedigree, popularity and some measure of Internet savvy in putting together his list. (He gives Pulitzers twice the weight of the other measures, "because they are presumably the most direct measure of quality.") His top-ten:
1. New York Times, with 38 points
2. Washington Post, 28
3. Los Angeles Times, 27
4. Poynter's St. Petersburg Times, 22
5. Denver Post, 18
6. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and New York Daily News, 12 points each
8. Chicago Tribune and Newsday, with 9 points each
10. Dallas Morning News, 8
"Are these the best newspapers in America?" asks de Vise. "Probably not. I can’t defend my math. The criteria I chose were sadly limited, based on what I could find online. In short, it’s a fairly typical best-of list."