I am a fan of the Guardian's Development site. It is increasingly informative, diverse and provocative. But I wonder if it is (a) making it "OK" for other sections of the newspaper to ignore development and (b) bringing in enough content from other parts of the newspaper, content that is not on development but is stuff that we should be thinking about?
On the first, it would be useful to hear the Guardian editors' reflections. It would be even better to have the stats on whether development stories are more or less likely to make it to the print version of the newspaper.
On the second, the challenge will be to be selective. Just today there were four stories that stimulated the development parts of my brain:
* the earthquake that has devastated Japan and is threatening the entire region: a chilling article by Bill McGuire on how many natural disasters can be planned for, but in the face of a Tsunami we are almost powerless (I can think of several counterexamples to these two assertions).
* cigarette packaging: this gets the Ben Goldacre "Bad Science" treatment--about how positions for and against banning branding on cigarette packets carry on happily ignoring the evidence (packaging design makes a big difference). How many development debates are like this? A lot, I think. But this one made me reflect on how incurious we are about how we communicate our findings in research. My sense is that the way results are framed and presented can have a huge influence on the likelihood of uptake and on the content of the message received. This is a huge research area waiting to happen.
* the UK census: a huge number of letters talking about what is personal data (individual records or anonymised data?), the design of the questionnaire itself and whether the commercial ties of the census company matters (it's Lockheed Martin!). All of these issues are hugely relevant in development fieldwork and will get more important the more research is focused on fragile contexts with fewer freedoms and more corruption.
* convoluted language: Simon Hoggart reports on RAND Europe courses on "pathway development". He makes fun of the way in which the course is advertised by the "Local Better Regulation Office" which uses phrases like: " The session will focus on local authorities who have gone through the process of developing their logic model, and now require additional expertise on how to develop indicators to measure achievements against outcomes".
We don't talk like that, do we?