Tuesday, April 13, 2010

People who don't get blogs...

After all this time, I am still somewhat amazed at my colleagues in the ag media who think a blog post is merely an online article.  I'll use my former editor Marcia Taylor as an example:
Rumors have floated since 2006 that institutions like pension funds, insurance companies and even a few world-famous billionaires were rekindling their romance with farmland as an investment, perhaps at levels not seen since the 1970s. The appeal back then was that raw Iowa land appreciated fivefold, from about $419 an acre to about $2,000 an acre in the space of 10 years. Two new economic reports from Iowa State University's Mike Duffy and University of Illinois' Bruce Sherrick touting the Corn Belt's more recent gains--and its 50-year track record of beating stocks in most years--has only fanned more interest (subscribers can see last week's DTN series, "The Good Earth" in recent features). [More]
The italics are mine to illustrate what should have happened. Links are what make blogs valuable!
"Two new economic reports from Iowa State University's Mike Duffy and University of Illinois' Bruce Sherrick touting the Corn Belt's more recent gains..."
Or compare it to an analogous post on a real business blog (the subject isn't important):
I posed a question on this recent CD post asking why the St. Louis Fed graphs are showing the recession ending in July 2009. Max commented and provided the answer. In the Notes section below each graph you can click on "US recession dates" where it says:

"The NBER has not yet determined the end of the recession that began in December 2007. The date 2009-07-01 has been substituted in graphs as an estimate. This estimate is based on a statistical model for dating business cycle turning points developed by Marcelle Chauvet and Jeremy Piger (A Comparison of the Real-Time Performance of Business Cycle Dating Methods, Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 2008, 26, 42-49). For more information, see

The graph above shows the Chauvet and Piger recession probabilities back to January 2010 (data here). By July 2009, the recession probability had decreased to 15%, from 77.3% in June 2009, and that huge drop signalled the end of the last recession. Since August of last year, the recession probabilities have been in single-digits and falling, to only 2.8% for January 2010 (most recent month). [More]
 The problem, I think is the old media mindset of being able to decide what information the reader is entititled to.  This privilege is not given up lightly. The idea of actually making the source material easy to get to is unthinkable - otherwise your conclusions and coverage might be open to criticism.

Steve Cornett and I talked about this recently (BTW - without the hat you wouldn't recognize him!) and to my knowledge he is the only ag blogger who has ever linked to me in response to something I wrote.  This lack of linkage also suggests to me most ag bloggers don't read the larger blogosphere - whether it's Red State, Marginal Revolution or Kevin Drum.  They should.  That kind of exchange is both enriching to readers and entertaining as well. 

A clue is how few ag bloggers have a blogroll. (Yeah, I know - I need to update mine)

While we may evolve a real blogosphere like political pundits, economists, and others where sources are linked and debates ensue as well, my guess is it will be with new players who don't hold onto some dated idea of being the arbiter of what the public gets to see.

The reason I try to link to my sources is I'm pretty sure there is a possibility I'm wrong and some of you could helpfully point out why.

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