Foreign Policy’s Global Thinkers: Old Media 3, New Media 2

by Roger Alford

Foreign Policy has just published its rankings of the top 100 Global Thinkers for 2011. As expected, there were the typical assortment of statesmen, economists and activists. But what really stood out was the continued dominance of old media in the shaping of foreign policy. We may be prone to think of 2011 as the year of new media thinkers, with social media outlets giving voice to protesters that toppled dictators and transformed regions.

But for every two new media global thinkers recognized by Foreign Policy, there were three global thinkers recognized for their work in old media: television, books, and journals. By my count, there were 32 FP global thinkers recognized for utilizing traditional television, books, or journals to communicate their message, while there were 21 FP global thinkers who were recognized for using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and blogging to spread their message. (Of course, I recognize that many of these public intellectuals use a variety of media to communicate their message; these categories are based on Foreign Policy’s description of their influence).

Here are the two lists:

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