Paul Krugman gave a talk Friday at the JSchool about being a columnist on international affairs and economics (the link to his other second talk at Haas on video is here, on the War in Iraq and the US Economy).
Krugman talked about how he became a columnist for the NY Times (he started with some less academic pieces, got published in Slate and Fortune), and what they asked for, which was commentary on business and economics. He said that in the beginning, he knew that every administration fudged the truth, or slated or spun things their way, but as he researched over time, he saw that the current administration out and out lies about many things, and much of his discovery of these lies occurs because of his work with public domain materials and information.
In writing his column, he does not use inside players or "unnamed sources" or even the "scene" in Washington to inform his work directly because he doesn't know any of these people and doesn't want to cultivate these kinds of sources. Instead, he goes to places like the Office of Management and Budget (or the California equivalent in prep for his recent analysis of the California Energy scam/Enron), and talks with economists and academics, and gets public information in the public domain. Then he does some analysis, or calculations, or reading of foreign press or whatever other materials are necessary to understand the information he is working with and then writes his column.
While this isn't the usual type of public domain use the biplog addresses, it was a nice reminder of the kind of uses the public domain has, that are very important for citizen analysis of public works and public officials. Thank goodness information of every sort produced by our government are required to have no copyright and to be a part of the public domain.Posted by Mary Hodder at September 28, 2003 06:15 PM