When I was a kid, people I knew either read The Philadelphia Inquirer or the New York Times. When I went to college, people read the Boston Globe or the New York Times. When I lived in Seattle, people read The Seattle Times or the New York Times. And now that I live in Indiana, people read the Indianapolis Star or the New York Times. Some things change; others never do.
The NYT has always been a presence because, in my vernacular, it’s the gold standard of newspapers. It represents a level of quality that’s nearly second to none.
When people ask me how to get started blogging, I sometimes stare at them blankly. It’s not because I don’t want to answer them. It’s because there’s no secret. You just do it. One day you sit down in front of your computer, whip up some simple WordPress template, and start to write. The first few months I was blogging, I would see daily traffic in the tens. I bet most were lost and came to my site by mistake. I can’t even claim that my immediate family was reading the blog, because I don’t kid myself – health policy just ain’t their thing.
But over time, people started to follow me from the radio. Some would follow me back from pieces I did for other media sites. And, after a while, the community of bloggers and journalists covering this stuff started to notice me. Austin and I realized we were linking to each other quite a bit, and decided to merge into one blog.
And we just kept on doing what we do.
Our passion us has always been bringing data and evidence to the policy discussion. We want to take complicated issues and help you to understand them. We want to bring up the research and the work that’s been done, but missed. We want to help make the debate over health policy better, and more grounded in facts. We’re excited that so many others have been moving in this direction, too.
Every once in a while, Austin will ask me what our end goal is for this. He did this even back when our traffic was in the hundreds. My first response has always been (and I’m not kidding here) “world domination”. After Austin assumes (wrongly) that I’m kidding, he will ask me what I really want. Most of the time, my answer has been, “to write for the New York Times.”
It’s the gold standard.
As I’m sure you’ve heard, Austin and I have accepted positions as contributors to David Leonhardt’s new data vertical venture at the NYT, called The Upshot. I’m not only getting my wish, but we get to be part of something that’s completely aligned with our goals here at TIE. David, and the many others working with him, are committed to making the policy discussion better by bringing data and evidence to the table. They want to do for all policy what we here have tried to do for health policy, and now we’ll be doing it together. I couldn’t be more excited.
Don’t worry. The Incidental Economist isn’t going anywhere. It was important to us, and to the NYT, that the blog continue as before. There will continue to be lots of posts, from all of your favorite TIE contributors, including me and Austin. Healthcare Triage will continue as well. We’re just adding some contributions to the NYT, where we will spend extra time bringing together more data to make larger points for a much bigger audience. To be honest, we really can’t see any downside here.
Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you for reading what we write, and for being part of our community. Please continue to do so, and come join us over at the NYT as well.
Now on to world domination.