Friday, April 17, 2009

Media Coverage of Conference Papers

The edublogosphere is rife with coverage of AERA papers right now. So is the edu-print media.

I'm not sure this is a good thing.

Remember, many academics treat the conference paper as a first, or maybe second draft. It's a chance to try out ideas in front of colleagues, not necessarily to present polished or even slightly polished work.

But when journalists write about conference papers, they often make it sound like these are vetted pieces of work. They're not. It's premature to draw conclusions from them, or make recommendations.

So here's my suggestion, particularly for the online media-- devote a column or section to "work in progress" and cover conference presentations there. That way your readers will be appropriately warned.

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