4 questions to U.S. News & World Report about Morse Code, Robert Morse’s new blog about the college rankings

June 11th, 2007 Karine Joly 3 Comments

I first read about Morse Code, the new blog authored by Robert Morse, the director of data research for U.S. News & World Report behind the methodologies and surveys for the America’s Best Colleges annual rankings, on Andrew Careaga’s blog last Thursday. It appears that the blog was launched on May 15.

As regular readers know, I was at a conference at that time, but I really got interested by this move from the publication in the midst of the traditional controversy around the way it ranks colleges and universities.

This morning, I emailed Robert Morse to find out if he would be willing to answer a few of questions about his blog. I got a quick reply from Cynthia Powell, the PR director of the magazine. Just a few hours after sending my questions, she emailed the following answers. Ms. Powell explained she answered my question on the behalf of the magazine in a follow-up email after I asked whose answers these were.

1) Why did you decide to launch this blog?

We’re expanding our website and this was a great opportunity for us to showcase one of our experts

2) What are the goals for Morse Code?

To provide a more detail perspective on the college and grad rankings and have a forum to discuss other issues in higher education as well as respond to those who comment on the U.S. News college and grad rankings.

3) How do you choose the topics of the blog posts?

Morse Code will focus primarily on the rankings, but may include comments on other higher education issues and their effects on the rankings (for example, the changes in the Carnegie classification system for colleges and universities.)

4) You’ve included a widget to allow people to share your post on many social media platforms. However, comments aren’t enabled on your blog. Do you plan to allow readers to post comments to your blog posts at some point in the future?

The interactive features are forthcoming. Right now, Morse Code is in its “soft launch” phase, building out content and a base audience. We hope to add more interactive elements to Morse Code, ideally timed to coincide with the launch our new college rankings in August.

As you can see, it seems that more interesting conversations will follow. If you want to keep up with the blog, make sure to subscribe to the RSS feed of Morse Code.

3 Responses

  1. Kevin Guidry says:

    Is it really a blog if you can’t comment on it? To me, that’s one of (if not *the*) the defining characteristics of the blogging medium. Sure, sometimes it’s annoying, overwhelming, risky, or plain embarrassing but that’s the nature of the medium. If you just want to have a webpage with an easy-to-use CMS so you can quickly and easily update it, fine. But to label it a blog just because it also has timedate stamps and an RSS feed just seems like an abuse of the language.

    In any case, I’ve enjoyed the new webpage and the tiny glimpses into the inner workings of USN&WR. I’d add a comment stating as much on the website but, well, we’ve already covered that ground. :) I look forward to their continued expansion of features and insight.

  2. Karine Joly says:

    I agree with you, Kevin.

    Hopefully, Morse Code will become a “real” blog later this summer… They are just starting out though, so I guess they want to take it slowly.

  3. Hmm…I’ll have to remember, next time a blogger wants to interview me, to have my PR people get back to them. ;)

    Snarkiness aside, I am glad to see U.S. News taking this approach. It’s risky, but worth it for them. Now, if the Princeton Review would just do the same thing.

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