How a Newsletter can cure the IR curse  

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Even if somebody is completely uninterested in politics, can they really hide from people posting their opinions regarding International Affairs? International things are undergoing a revolution of reach. The marketing and communications channels are endless, which is why it is now harder to hide from door-to-door (now page-to-page) salepeople. Newsletters are no exception. Along with podcasts, they have become one of the most important means to provide value, compared to social media platforms. From a strict perspective of marketing, a Newsletter should not get any special treatment concerning International Relations. However, when analyzing the particular characteristics of the persons involved in international stuff, it can even be considered ethical. This is the bad thing about Content Creation – it can become a superficial horizontal art with no substance. Weirdly, this superficial use of content ties well with the constant production of international analyses on a daily or even hourly basis, which are not founded on valid intelligence and this is a curse in the field.  

Accessibility and attention

To begin with, it could be said that the email is more accessible in some ways. You do not need to open your browser and click on your bookmarked pages every time. Instead, the information comes to the user on its own, at a place where you are expected to look for important information. Maybe somebody is paranoid about their competitor sending them an email that they are suing them! This alertness can be, then, translated to attention.

It’s more formal

Imagine talking to an ambassador. Do you believe they are more likely to search and follow your Instagram page, or agree on receiving an email? IR related professions are almost all formal and therefore they will expect something to be communicated to them in a formal way.

In this horrid global economy, more and more people spend half of their activities, if not more, at their workplace. Many are being supervised, either physically or digitally and do not feel comfortable opening a tab on their browser unrelated to their work. However, on the email client, it is harder to tell and therefore it is more likely that people open them during working hours.

Solving the curse

It is not a coincidence that this Newsletter was launched shortly after the beginning of the Israel – Hamas war. All the experts on Ukrainian warfare have now reskilled themselves. They are, of course, not to blame, given the urge to win an attention economy – blame the game, not the player. Analysts end up rushing their content for the sake of serving SEO and audiences, which definitely increases their speed and reach, yet sacrifices validity. Strategically thinking, there is absolutely no reason to analyze bad intelligence or, even worse, fake news, unless it is for educational purposes.  

However, a properly implemented Newsletter on a weekly basis has some form of informational maturity. Its design forces you to follow the news you have added closely, as events progress throughout the duration of seven days – not too much, not too little. And during the last day, the writer sits down and factchecks everything by searching the topics at hand instead of passively reading through the mainstream websites. For example, you may initially find out about an event on Reuters but this should not mean that you will find the relevant development on the same website. A regional paper may offer relevant information regarding an update. In addition, this contained approach is also a must when considering unconfirmed information on Telegram and Twitter, which have a much faster format. International Relations analysis is not the same as Journalism, and at the same time, Journalism is only partly Desk Research. A well composed IR newsletter should be an Open Source Intelligence analysis under the lens of well founded knowledge, which can only be accumulated with proper teamwork.   

Published by

Alexandros Sainidis

I am an International Relations Analyst and the creator of the blog Pecunia et Bellum. I have studied International, European and Area Studies at the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens, Greece. I am a bilingual Russian speaker and I am currently learning Mandarin in order to gain a deeper understanding of the current International Affairs in Eurasia.

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