John Tierney Becomes A Science Writer

John Tierney, the libertarian replacement for William Safire, is quitting his op-ed post in order to become a science columnist and blogger. For those of you without Times $elect:

This is my last column on the Op-Ed page. I've enjoyed the past couple of years in Washington, but one election cycle is enough. I'm returning full time to the subject and the city closest to my heart: science and New York. I'll be writing a column and a blog for the Science Times section.

When a writer is willing to give up a powerful political soapbox in order to write about biology and black holes, you know the zeitgeist is changing. Science writing is the new new thing.

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Last week, when I was hanging out at the AAAS meeting in San Francisco, I ran into someone I hadn't seen in a long time: New York Times columnist John Tierney. Tierney isn't someone who I know particularly well, but I did write a long profile of him many years ago for The American Prospect magazine…

I usually liked Tierney. He wasn't a partisan hack, and while he indulged a bit too much in the unfettered glories of the free-market, I thought he wrote some genuinely interesting and surprising columns. Unlike many of his peers, he was unpredictable, which is, as far as I'm concerned, an essential quality for a columnist.

He is a mysoginist pig and all of his op-eds (and all of his silly politics) stemmed from that fount. Each was duly fisked by the feminist bloggers.

Does Tierney actually know anything about science? Or is he just going to be one more uninformed reporter?

By Buffalo Gal (not verified) on 14 Nov 2006 #permalink

Some very good science writers started with no education in science. There was even a crime reporter or two who turned to science.

The most important skill for a science writer is to be able to ask questions until you are confident that you understand the answers.

After all, few readers bring a knowledge of science to their reading.

Apparently he was a staff writer for Science from 1981 to 1985, according to his columnist bio. So I guess he knows something about science. He also knows how to mess with it for effect.

By ThePolynomial (not verified) on 14 Nov 2006 #permalink

Tierney might have been eased out of his columnist seat. I woulnd't be surprised if the NYT editors wanted to lean a bit less to the right.

Yeah, I bet Gail Collins (former editor of the page) will now take over Tierney's column. That means Brooks will be the lone conservative.