Press Release

UC Berkeley amplifies national voice via The Berkeley Blog

| 26 October 2009

The University of California, Berkeley's best and brightest are often asked to share their insights at the White House, on Wall Street and with the media worldwide. Now, they are furthering that conversation in a new format - The Berkeley Blog.

Launched on Oct. 12 by UC Berkeley's online NewsCenter, the blog features campus faculty members fielding a wide spectrum of questions about the hottest current events. The blog appears to be the first such enterprise based at a major university in the United States.

So far, about 150 UC Berkeley professors have signed on to share their knowledge, experience and ideas with the academic community and the general public. They are responding to topical questions posed two or three times a week by the staff of UC Berkeley's Office of Public Affairs, which hosts and moderates the blog. (An alphabetical list of faculty participants is online at: http://blogs.berkeley.edu/all-authors.)

The forum is not an institutional blog with an "official" voice, but rather an open exchange of ideas and opinions involving the campus as well as the local community and the country - a tradition at UC Berkeley since the founding of the Free Speech Movement on campus in the 1960s, said Claire Holmes, UC Berkeley associate vice chancellor of public affairs.

Questions relating to the news of the day are posed in one or several of six major arenas: the economy; energy and the environment; science and technology, arts and culture, and politics and law. The campus experts registered to participate in the blog then are free to share their answers and insights, and the discussion begins. Comments are limited only by rules of civility and good taste.

Topics to date have explored California's economic and political woes, the "public option" of health care reform, why "Where the Wild Things Are" is so alluring, and what's at stake when policymakers and climate scientists convene in Copenhagen in December. (A complete list of subjects is online at: http://blogs.berkeley.edu.)

"The Berkeley Blog is an exciting new platform - one that has the potential to transform the intellectual dialogue in California and beyond, as faculty members share their expertise on the key debates of the day," said AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of UC Berkeley's School of Information, a professor of city and regional planning and a member of The Berkeley Blog lineup.

Other bloggers include preeminent economists Brad DeLong and Robert Reich, who recently offered on The Berkeley Blog his top 10 list of what's wrong with California.

Anyone with ideas about what's wrong, or right, about California - or who has thoughts about any of The Berkeley Blog's musings - can share their views there as well.