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I'm not quite sure what you're implying. I never claimed to have no opinion. Does anyone make comments that don't express their opinion? I expressed praise for Matt, as many others have, but my comment is more based on the fact that anyone was eliminated for BP radio which was not what the contest was for, which is a weekly column. Quite a few voters have said that they do not listen to BP radio, and have spent this contest voting for who they want to see in a weekly column not who they want to hear on the radio.
It is pretty unfair, as many comments here and on the main topic page explain, but even if we assume that it's not unfair, it's at least a misguided overvaluation. As with all over- or undervaluations,however, such an error of judgment only disadvantages those who make them. So I guess in this case, seeing as Matt has already shown himself to be an original and gifted researcher and writer, others who don't overvalue one radio interview will snatch him away, to the detriment of BP. But hey, I guess BP have some great podcasts that no one will listen to, so good for them.
First off, I know you weren't being totally serious with the UUS thing, I wasn't criticizing it, I thought it was funny.
As for the Pujols analogy, I was being extreme. Maybe a better analogy would be like Pujols being able to bunt-- it would be nice, but how relevant is it, especially when bunting is such a teachable task? What I was trying to say was that good writing is the basis for this contest to be a weekly columnist-- that will increase traffic/readership on BP, just as you say Pujols can generate attendance. Or perhaps consider a baseball player's ability to talk to media. It's also nice but irrelevant, and certainly not what you base any decisions on. I'm sure everyone can think of someone who is/was a great baseball player, but was criticized by more mainstream or local media for their "bad attitude" because of their lack of media contact (even if it was for unfair reasons, such as not speaking English well). Or maybe we should just go back to drafting someone because they have the right "look"... or face?
Yeah, and I guess finding out that Albert Pujols can't pole-vault or tap-dance should make him lose some credibility, because he's supposed to be athletic, after all!!
In reality, the goal here really should be to see who has the best innate skills. Being able to talk about simple boring research isn't as important as being able to DO complex interesting research. Though I really did enjoy your UUS (Um/Uh Score) breakdown, ums & uhs are not really the metric that matters. That stuff is so fixable. It's just a matter of practice and coaching, which I think doing radio successfully does require. Being a skilled researcher, on the other hand, well... they don't have PR coaches for that.
I definitely agree with you that people should listen. The unfortunate reality, however, is that a lot of people aren't going to listen. Either for time reasons (it would take about 45 minutes to download listen to all 4-- I did it), or because they're reading it while commuting or from work or somewhere else where it's not ok to have the sound on, or for technology reasons. That's why the transcripts and all their (in)accuracy and bias really DO matter.
Aside from the poor format choice that others have alluded to, I just want to say how inappropriate I think it is that a reader who isn't employed by BP did the transcripts for this round.
This is even more disturbing by the fact that transcribing is something into which people CAN insert bias, with their choice of what to include/exclude, and even punctuation. I found it interesting, for example, how every little sound (no matter how insignificant) of Matt Swartz's interview was amplified as some sort of unprofessional interjection, while Ken Funck's somewhat distracting...sounds were left out of his transcript. Richard Bergstrom even commented that Tim Kniker's interview sounded better than it read, but he's the one who wrote it, so why didn't he fix that?
The bias reflected in the transcription was confirmed by Richard Bergstrom's subsequent comments on each of the articles.