Saturday, January 07, 2006

Journalism Versus Academics

I can easily think of dozens of reasons why it is better to be a professor than a journalist. Among them are holidays and weekends.

However, one major advantage of journalism occurred to me this week. At every paper at which I worked, there was a deadline. At that time, you were done ... at least for the day. You did the best you could, but at a certain point it was done.

To put this another way, there were no revise and resubmits in journalism. I am currently revising a piece for resubmission to a journal. For those unfamiliar, this is a process where three anonymous reviewers pick apart your work and tells you all the things to change or do better. This helps to protect science from bad research. However, too many reviewers end up telling you about they study they would have designed if they did your study. And that is not the point.

These particular reviews are pretty good, and the revision will go out next week. Nonetheless, there are some days where a career full of revisions and resubmissions make me miss the newsroom -- but only for a moment.


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