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Now Entering the Blogosphere

Mark Thoma, an economist, and Stephen Hsu, a physicist, are taking two very different approaches in establishing themselves as renowned bloggers.

Given all the noise about the economy (everyone, it seems, has an opinion), wouldn’t it be handy to have an expert who extracts the gems of wisdom from all the static and places them in context?

In fact, just such an expert exists: UO economist Mark Thoma, whose blog — The Economist’s View — is a hugely popular resource for the best in current economic discourse

Thoma’s blog analyzes contemporary events from an economic point of view, reviews academic research and surveys news stories from around the world. It is visited daily by at least 20,000 visitors — plus untold others who read it on sites where the blog is “mirrored.” A recent ranking by Technorati, a blog search engine, ranked it sixth among economics blogs, topping those produced by well-known academics such as Nobel Prizewinner Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong of UC Berkeley.

Thoma generally produces four to five new posts daily, which then generate hundreds of comments. The blog has brought him international renown, with media around the world regularly turning to him as an expert source.

A blogger of a different nature is physicist Stephen Hsu, who has been active since 2004. On his blog, Information Processing, he regularly posts on cutting edge news from his favorite fields: physics, finance, education and technology. Also grist for his blogging mill: New Yorker articles, conversations with rare and fascinating people, books and documentary recommendations, and an endless stream of impressions and ideas on an eclectic range of subjects.

Hsu’s own brand of analysis and personal style is so compelling that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently syndicated him on the web site of their magazine Technology Review.

Hsu considers himself an entrepreneur (he has founded two technology startups in Silicon Valley), and his entrepreneurial sixth sense is buzzing over the future of academic blogging. Not only does blogging improve the visibility of professors and their institutions, he says, but it grants the public unprecedented access to scholarly dialogues that usually only occur through elite academic journals.

–Chrisanne Beckner and Lisa Raleigh

Read an analysis of why Thoma's blog is a must-read.

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