Ostrom on institutional transparency

On twitter the other day, I was joking that I’ve adopted a new approach to my book research: when confronted with a problem, I first ask, “Did Elinor Ostrom write about this?” Ostrom won the economics Nobel in 2009 for her work on how communities solve common pool resources problems, work that’s central to the …

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If the plagiarism is inaccurate, is it still plagiarism?

A fresh-looking piece of Colorado River journalism made the rounds this week, by Frances Weaver at The Week, about the Colorado River’s current decadal-scale drought. But some of the language had a familiar ring to it. Here’s Weaver: The most immediate cause is 14 years of drought unrivaled in 1,250 years. Here’s Michael Wines in …

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“idle imaginings of the newspaper man”

The tension between scientists and journalists goes back a long time: The vaporings and idle imaginings of the newspaper man, I am compelled to believe, are more acceptable both to landlords and tourists, than any presentation of actual facts. That’s University of California Professor C.B. Bradley, writing in Overland Monthly & Out West Magazine in …

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July rain: what a difference a month makes

I got what may be my all time favorite reader comment a couple of weeks back when I tried to explain that the summer rains New Mexico has been getting do not mean our drought is over: This article is miserablism at its absolute worst. How about looking at important progress in reservoirs like Conchas …

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Mike Taugher, a journalist’s journalist

Amid some tears today over the tragic death of my former colleague Mike Taugher, I found a couple of stories he wrote about California water worth sharing. Mike was the Albuquerque Journal’s environment beat reporter back in the 1990s, and a nicer colleague you couldn’t have found, a talent, a joy to work with, a …

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what newspapers do

Newspaper people don’t become newspaper people because they want to get rich, or because they want to be famous, they do so because they believe in what newspapers do. TJ Sullivan, in his explanation of why he went to Roger Ebert’s funeral