Friday, May 22, 2009

Journalists May be the Dumbest People on the Face of the Earth, Part 361

Someone just sent me this item from the California Lawyer by a "reporter" named Lawrence Hurley.  I can't recall ever having spoken to Mr. Hurley, but if I did, he just made some things up anyway:

University of Chicago Law School professor Brian Leiter hates U.S. News and World Report's law school rankings. The influential rankings, published every March, suffer from a flawed methodology, according to Leiter: They fail to emphasize the importance of teaching.

This is absurd, and I'm sure I never said it.  U.S. News has a flawed methodology--that's obvious--but the flaw has nothing to do with failure to take account of teaching, which can't be very meaningfully measured or compared.  (Princeton Review tried, and it's better than nothing, maybe, but not much.)

Leiter got so annoyed with the magazine's approach that in 2005 he started his own rankings system. He relies on fellow law professors' input about the quality of faculty and future job prospects for graduates. "U.S. News needs more competition," Leiter says.

U.S. News does need more competition, but I first produced a set of law school rankings a dozen years ago, and they were featured on the front page of the National Law Journal at the time.  Only the current ranking site started in 2005.

Robert J. Morse, U.S. News and World Report's director of data and research, responds wearily. "[Leiter's] no better than us, but he thinks he is."

Since this is inconsistent with anything Mr. Morse has ever said, I'm going to assume this is just more fiction-writing by the "reporter."  Whatever the merits and flaws of the metrics I have used, they, quite obviously, suffer from none of the flaws of the U.S. News methods:  mine can't be gamed, the data is real, and there is no inexplicable weighting of multiple factors to produce an overall nonsense number.

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