Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Journalist’s Advice To Economists

Lovely, lovely post (excerpt):

3 practical things, and one abstract thing economists could do to improve economic coverage in the media

This was written by CBC Radio's Matthew Lazin-Ryder

1. Pitch better stories

…If we want to move economics coverage towards research, and I believe we should, economists must do more to communicate their research to journalists….

…A solution to this is to skip all the baloney and pitch your research directly to journalists….

2. Help us find better commentators

…Deadlines haunt our lives. We start our day, and the countdown clock starts. You are doing us an enormous favour by saying “no” as firmly and quickly as possible…give us any tiny hint about who might be a better communicator on a subject that you’re not familiar with, or might have time. If you don’t have a name, scale up. A field of study, a department, another university. Anything that could lead to another human with something to say….

3. Be honest about your feelings during an interview

…if you find yourself on the phone with a journalist, and you feel they are pushing you in a direction you’d rather not go, say so….

4. (The abstract one) For god’s sake, be passionate

…I’m surprised, to be completely indelicate, at the number of interviews I’ve seen and heard with economists who don’t sound the slightest bit interested in their own research. I’m not sure if it’s a tradition of academic humility, of not wanting to rock the boat, or of nervousness, but there’s an unsettling absence of public passion in Canadian [sic] economics…..

I’ve been sometimes critical of the media, but there are times when the shoe (or is it the boot?) is on the other foot. There are lessons in here for me to learn, too.

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