Strong opinions, weakly held

Tag: journalism

Political science vs political journalism, continued

Christopher Beam illustrates the point I was trying to make about political journalism and political science the other day with humor:

A powerful thunderstorm forced President Obama to cancel his Memorial Day speech near Chicago on Monday—an arbitrary event that had no affect on the trajectory of American politics.

Obama now faces some of the most difficult challenges of his young presidency: the ongoing oil spill, the Gaza flotilla disaster, and revelations about possibly inappropriate conversations between the White House and candidates for federal office. But while these narratives may affect fleeting public perceptions, Americans will ultimately judge Obama on the crude economic fundamentals of jobs numbers and GDP.

He goes on. Funny, and accurate.

FiveThirtyEight.com joins the New York Times

My post yesterday was a well-timed given the news today that Nate Silver’s political blog will be published by the New York Times:

Some exciting news this morning: We have reached agreement in principle to incorporate FiveThirtyEight’s content into NYTimes.com.

Read the rest at FiveThirtyEight.

Why journalists should learn to program

Financial journalist Roland Legrand argues that journalists should learn to program. He says:

All of this takes time, and maybe you’ll never find enough of it to get good at all this stuff.

Still, we must try. The good news is that it doesn’t matter if you become proficient at the latest language. What is important, however, is that you’re able to comprehend the underpinnings of programming and interactivity — to be able to look at the world with a coder’s point of view.

I can’t help but wonder, though, if most journalists would benefit more from learning how to crunch numbers, compile statistics, and derive meaning from them than they would by learning HTML and CSS. They should be reading this book, not this book.

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