The most interesting post read those past days is, without any doubt,
- “Liberal Wonk Blogging Could Be Your Life” http://nextnewdeal.net/rorybomb/… by
rortybomb (which is some kind of answer to http://peterfrase.com/…). This post was mentioned in “In Praise of Econowonkery” http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/… (discoverd via MarkThoma and DEAGiles) but I strongly recommand to read the original post,
Frase, a sociologist, locates the peril of wonkery in the fact that it needs to engage with academic research that often is more complicated than the writers have the ability to critically evaluate. “The function of the wonk is to translate the empirical findings of experts for the general public.” As such they are subject to a form of source capture, where they need to rely on the experts they are reporting on, as “they will necessarily have far less expertise than the people whose findings are being conveyed.”
We can generalize this critique as one that academics make of journalists all the time. Journalists don’t understand the subtlety of research and how it often functions as a discourse that changes over time. It’s a conversation on a very long time scale, rather than a race with winners and losers. They want dramatic headlines, conflicts, and cliffhangers, often over whether something is “good” or “bad” or other topics that make academics roll their eyes. Where researchers spend a lifetime on a handful of topics, reporters bounce from topic to topic, oftentimes in the course of a single day, made even worse through the “hamster wheel” of online blogs.
That’s a problem, as far as it goes. But bad journalism is easily countered by…good journalism. Source capture actually strikes me as one of the smaller problems wonk bloggers face. If journalists are worried that they are over-influenced by their source, they can just call another expert — which is what Wonkblog did for the Reinhart/Rogoff studies. Wonk bloggers tend to focus on a group of related areas, and like any other journalist, they develop a list of the top researchers in any area to navigate complicated issues. They call people and ask questions.
It is true that in the wonk space, judgments on where the wonk’s self-declared expertise ends and where the line should be drawn on what is covered explicitly lie with the authors themselves. But this just makes explicit what is hidden in all of journalism, which is the problem of where to draw these lines.
It’s true that these debates take place within the context of existing policy research. A friend noted that Frase’s piece rests on a weird contradiction: it’s about how wonks don’t have enough expertise, but also how expertise is just a way of power and capital exerting itself and should be resisted. But that assumes that wonk blogging is just a replication of ruling ideology.[to be continued… ]
There were also other interesting posts, here and there
- “Too Big To Free Ride” http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/… by
- “Who said what about the White House executive order on open data?” http://e-pluribusunum.com/ … by
digiphile via openscience
- “On the Payoff to Attending an Elite College” http://nber.org/digest/dec99/… about http://papers.nber.org/w7322 via
- “Why Are We Still Waiting For Natural Language Processing?” http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/… on moral shortcomings of conspicuous consumption
- “Paradox of the Proof” http://projectwordsworth.com/…
- “How the big banks get away with it” http://lrb.co.uk/v35/… via
- on colleges and US higher education http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/…
- “Ferguson and Schumpeter reach the wrong conclusions but have the right instincts: there is a lot of sex in economics” http://prospect.org/article/…
- “How long is the average (PhD) dissertation?” http://beckmw.wordpress.com/… (stats based on 2,536 records) see
- “What Use Are Economists?” http://project-syndicate.org/commentary/… by
- “How did the conservative ideas of Friedrich Hayek and the Austrian school become our economic reality” http://thenation.com/article/…
- “Restaurant menu psychology: tricks to make us order more” http://guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/…
- “How much geography can we do without?” http://fathom.info/latest/4756 via flowingdata (on metro maps)
- 1) play Dungeons and Dragons, 2) model it, 3) publish it http://link.springer.com/… by
David_G_Rand via stevenstrogatz nice !
- “The shorter your first name, the bigger your paycheck” http://qz.com/81807/… see also http://blog.theladders.com/…
- “As pricing decouples, the catastrophe bond market grows up” http://gccapitalideas.com/… via http://artemis.bm/blog/ …
- “Disparity in medical billing” (in the U.S.) http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/ …
- “Hazards of Political Statistics” http://united-academics.org/magazine/… “Knowing a disaster’s long-term effects too crucial for mere politics“
- “The labor market won’t be healthy until people feel like they can quit their jobs” http://washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/…
- “The legitimacy and usefulness of academic blogging will shape how intellectualism develops” http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/… via
avec trois ou quatre liens en français, le premier étant un évènement qui aura lieu dans un mois à Montréal
- http://hackjournalisme.com/ “Hack Journalisme” à suivre sur twitter
- “La vraie tragédie du Bangladesh” http://blog.francetvinfo.fr/classe-eco/… par
adelaigue et “Des ouvriers meurent, vite boycottons le Bangladesh !” http://margincall.fr/… par valatini
- “Take your pipette” http://sauvonsluniversite.com/6076
- “Estimer la charge de travail des étudiant(e)s” http://pedagogieuniversitaire.wordpress.com/ …
- “« Choc de simplification » : Acrimed et l’administration fiscale (conte… à dormir debout)” http://acrimed.org/ … via
- “Les sondages contre les élections” http://blog.mondediplo.net/… par Alain Garrigou
Did I miss something ?