Long time, no blog — what’s new?

It has been nearly a year since I have posted here. In that time, I took a position at the Stanford Graduate School of Business as their Learning Platform Administrator. I manage the administration, roadmap, and relationships around our academic and MOOC learning platforms and suite of tools. It is an amazing place to be, and I’m humbled on a daily basis.
Given the move away from a purely academic path, and the decrease in long-form writing, I have realized that it’s time to hit the reset button on The Broad Gaze (formerly Thinking Out Loud). It is not for lack of things to say (though I still to some degree blame Twitter), but more a realization of the need for a transition.

This blog will soon appear as a static archive, and I’ll be sure to broadcast whatever new writing venture I undertake.

Thanks for thinking out loud and gazing with me over the years.

National media call Wisconsin too early, affront democracy

The national media committed a major faux pas tonight against the people of Wisconsin. With people still in line waiting to vote, all of the major national news outlets called the vote for the incumbent (AP and the Times were among the last). One commentator went so far as to talk about the science of vote prediction on election nights, lauding how well statistics can predict the outcome.

Whether or not this is true, it completely misses the fact that an early call has real potential to affect the outcome of the election. That this particular race was split by less than one percent by some polls the day before the election makes an accurate outcome even more important.

To be clear, this is not a partisan message – it is equally likely that someone could step out of line thinking “we won” or “we lost.” The news media is largely expected to objectively report the events of the day, and this puts the drive for a “scoop” ahead of our democratic process. Should one person step out of line based on these messages strikes me as an affront to our democracy.

A Journalism degree – it’s all about research

Search Strategies in Mass Communication
A book from a class that was foundational in my academic career

I was fortunate enough to attend a capstone competition for an advertising class here at the J School (which I attend). The outcome of their hard work (as well as that of their instructor and some support staff) was truly remarkable.

It reminded me of something long forgot about a degree in journalism. No matter what the emphasis –news, advertising, PR, or academic– research skills rank high the core skill set. While it may not be academic, market research skills are just as valuable and just as tough to develop.

I am reminded of my own undergrad “search strategies” class, and really made me long for the classroom.

Addendum: OK, it’s not all about research.

How Twitter Killed my Blog

Twitter is an amazing technology. The ease with which one can share ideas, resources, and network with people you otherwise might not have met is (I think) unparalleled. As with any new technology, however, it has come with a cost — it has nearly killed my blog.

TwitterFor some time, I used my blog as a place to publicly chronicle things and ideas that I want to remember. Looking back (and hopefully forward), I can see the benefit that blogging had. Its forced reflection brought me to strengthen some deeply held convictions. Blogs are great for that kind of stuff — deep reflection, perhaps with a light amount of network.

Now, it’s just too easy to compress an idea down to 140 characters, or worse yet to quickly post a link with little or no commentary. The benefit has been social. As a shy but opinionated person, Twitter is a perfect medium.

With all of this in mind, this post marks another shift in this blog. Stuff on the rest of the family has been moved to more appropriate places (Facebook wasn’t around when we started, and our great photos are on their way to Flickr). To highlight the change, we’re also changing to a theme that heavily emphasizes text.

That’s what Thinking Out Loud will be about for the next phase: deep reflection. To do that (efficiently) calls for some writing.

Thanks for reading!