Thursday 16 July 2009

Amateur, untrained, unqualified: bloggers or the NBR? We report, you decide. (updated x8)

Eric Crampton blogs on a pitch for subscriptions that he received from the National Business Review. This is the bit I loved: the NBR writes,
Worse still the model has spawned a huge band of amateur, untrained, unqualified bloggers who have swarmed over the internet pouring out columns of unsubstantiated “facts” and hysterical opinion.
I don't know about other areas, but when it comes to economics I know I trust a number of bloggers a lot more than I trust the NBR. There are a number of bloggers out there who are much more professional, better trained and more qualified to comment on economics than anyone at the NBR. If you don't believe me take a look at some of the econ blogs on my sidebar.

Does the NBR really think its better at dealing with development economics than Bill Easterly, or better at dealing with Austrian economists than Peter Boettke or Steve Horwitz, or better at commenting on almost any economic issue than Gary Becker or Richard Posner, or more knowledgeable about Adam Smith than Gavin Kennedy, or know more about organizational economics and the economics of institutions than Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein? Then there is David Friedman or Russ Roberts and Don Boudreaux or Tim Harford or Greg Mankiw or Arnold Kling and Bryan Caplan or Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen, or Al Roth. If only the NBR had such people with their level of professionalism, training and qualifications.

If the NBR wants to be taken seriously it could do well to pull its head in. As it turns out, like Eric, I'm a fan of the NBR, but they have lost the plot on this one.

Update: Whaleoil reckons that Barry Colman does his nut.

Update 2: Cactus Kate notes that Colman Blasts Farrar.

Update 3: Lew at Kiwipolitico writes on Duelling imperatives.

Update 4: Kiwiblog enters the battle that is Barry vs the bloggers!

Update 5: Not everybody hates bloggers. Eric Crampton blogs on an article from the Wall Street Journal which discusses the rise of economics blogs.
Traffic to the top sites, such as Marginal Revolution, Freakonomics and the blogs from academics such as Paul Krugman, Greg Mankiw and Brad DeLong, surged anywhere from 80% to 250% from July to September 2008 as the financial crisis intensified, according to, a Web site that measures Internet traffic. The most popular blogs can attract as many as 50,000 to 100,000 page views a day.
Here in New Zealand
The latest New Zealand top-20 blogs list includes three economics blogs: The Visible Hand at #18, your humble narrator [Offsetting Behaviour] at #19, and Peter Cresswell's Objectivist blog, NotPC, which sits at #3 and should also be counted as an economics blog. US readers: you got that right. A stridently Objectivist blog is the #3 ranked NZ blog. I don't think that Bernard Hickey's blog gets counted for some reason, but it's surely up there as well, and probably higher than either TVHE or me. Paul Walker's AntiDismal comes in at #25.
Update 6: Lance Wiggs asks, The NBR is in trouble – what should they do? and Julie Starr comments ‘Hi, you’re hysterical and biased, please subscribe to the NBR’.

Update 7: Peter Salmon has some thoughts on the Media:but not as it was.

Update 8: Bernard Hickey on How to profitably publish financial news online for free.


Unknown said...

I'm a fan of NBR as well Paul, but agree with your post here 100%.

Many of the blogs I read are specialist academics or professionals in their field, whom the NBR 'reporters' interview or get their facts from in the first place.

But it's just a marketing ploy.

Unknown said...

Actually, they're annoying me.

I have received the same letter. But I have an existing email address and when I go in I get this message:

"You have already used this one-time login link. It is not necessary to use this link to login anymore. You are already logged in."

So apparently I'm logged in, however, I can't access any of the subscriber information.

Anyone else having trouble?

Unknown said...


Enjoyed your comments. Personally I think NBR do not grasp the scale of change underway

The entire economic/business model for media is changing profoundly