2011-02-21 03:14:15Words of wisdom from my favorite economist
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.103.231
Actually It’s 787 Words

But it’s nice that Atrios likes today’s column — especially because getting it down to length (4830 characters including spaces — word counts are unreliable) was a real struggle; this one really wanted to be about 25% longer.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post: a bit of writing meta. One of the hardest things about writing the column, as opposed to blogging, is the length constraint. It’s really, really hard to say something meaningful in a limited space. And yet, that constraint has its virtues: it forces you to be concise, to figure out what you really need to say and skip the rest, to find turns of phrase that are shorter and usually plainer. And my experience is that the process of doing all that almost always makes the thing read better.

If I had my way, we’d require students to write 800-word essays, just for writing and reasoning practice. And at the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy, this is something we’ll lose when dead-tree newspapers go the way of vinyl records.

2011-02-21 03:17:08
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.103.231
Paul Krugman was writing about his New York Times column on political economy. But I think it applies about as well to what we're doing at SkS.
2011-02-21 06:51:58Fuddy duddy
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
144.131.205.143
He's wrong about one thing - brevity will be valued long after papers are gone. If anything, it's more important for people reading content on a computer screen.