Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bloggers at Tufts

The Tufts website has a profile this week with links to a wide range of faculty bloggers.

In addition to U.S. Food Policy, the article discusses blogs by professors Lisa Neal Gualtieri, Peter Levine, Sam Sommers, and Peter Walker.

One could also mention the leading politics, culture, and international affairs blog by Daniel Drezner, at the Fletcher School at Tufts, which is now hosted by the journal Foreign Affairs. Some graduate students in the Friedman School community with interesting related blogs include Asta Schuette, Ashley Colpaart, and Amy Scheuerman. Others can be mentioned in the comments.

Here is the profile section on U.S. Food Policy:

Parke Wilde, an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, has connected with a community of fellow bloggers who cover food policy issues from a public interest perspective. Wilde says he would like to see this community make a major public policy impact, similar to efforts he has seen from Porkbusters, a blog community that focuses on government waste. Important goals, though Wilde admits blogging has its drawbacks.

"It's not for everyone," says the former USDA economist. "You have to develop a pace you can sustain, and avoid the boom and bust cycle where you first commit too much time to it and then follow that by setting it aside for awhile."

For Wilde, one of the interesting aspects of maintaining his blog is tracking the number of views and the types of people who end up at his blog.

"What's interesting isn't so much the traffic numbers, but the searches that bring people to the blog," Wilde says. "I think that 20 percent of my traffic comes from people looking for nutrition information from fast food restaurants that don't disclose it. Even though it's not the thing I cover most, it's a mass market issue. Much of what I cover, I'm the main source for it."

Wilde adds, "A cautionary tale to companies is that it's better to share information than not to."

Wilde says his U.S. food policy blog has been motivating for his class on the same subject. It has also helped him connect with his students, some of whom contribute to the blog.

"Currently there are two students listed on the masthead, but there are also others that have sent in material from time to time," Wilde says. "I don't know why, but every time we get a new voice on the site, it often scores a big link from some other major Web site, leading to a spike in readership."

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