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November 21, 2008
Unlike some of our other rankings projects—Best Colleges and Best Hospitals, for example—there are no hard numbers to crank into a leadership formula. But even if the outcome lacks precision, we think the undertaking is equally valuable. Leadership is essential to a successful society. And it must come in many fields and at various levels. Most recently, we've all been obsessed with the election of a leader in chief, a seminal event, no doubt, but one that can also tend to obscure the important work that is being done by other remarkable people in unglamorous places like classrooms and medical labs. No president is going to solve all our problems. The strength of America is in the breadth of leaders that we've been able to produce over many years. Yet the onslaught of everyday news coverage rarely lends itself to scrutinizing the kinds of successes that are happening in areas such as science, medicine, the arts, the military, business, and education. We think it's appropriate to acknowledge that work once in a while.
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November 11, 2008
Well, it's over. And it's just starting. Historic election! First black president! Lots of new, energized voters. A world awash in good feelings. OK, fine, but what have you done for me today?
Short attention spans are an occupational hazard in the news business, but I think the disease is catching. Now anyone can be in the news business, as we saw over the long, long campaign season. Political junkies and the merely curious onlooker can access the sort of information online that only the most sophisticated political pros and journalists were getting just a few years ago. Polling data, video clips, speech transcripts, news analysis from every corner of the dial: Everyone is now an expert. And everyone is eager for that next headline. Which is too bad, because we're losing some of the necessary rhythms of the political cycle. Call me old school, but I think it's good for the country to take a deep breath and a few weeks away from the political furnace now and then. But that's not going to happen.