Fellow Jacksonville State alumnus Stacy McCain has noted something odd about The Atlantic‘s growing stable of bloggers: Without exception, they have Ivy League degrees. Indeed, until Megan McArdle’s recent hire, they were all Harvard grads. (Megan, with a mere Penn BA and Chicago MBA, broke the glass ceiling.)
For some years now, bloggers have been portrayed (and have portrayed themselves) as grass-roots outsiders, rebels storming the privileged bastions of the journalistic elite. I’m not sure that image was ever accurate, and the hierarchy of the blogosphere is probably becoming more elitist every day, as more establishment organizations seek to carve out a place in the medium.
McCain notes that even the original Wonkette, Ana Marie Cox, has degrees from Chicago and Berkeley.
Almost all the top bloggers have graduate or professional degrees, mostly from elite schools. As I’ve noted many times over the years (see, for example, “Professionalization of the Blogosphere“), it stands to reason that the blogosphere would be dominated by academics and lawyers, who tend to have both the intellectual training and the time available to spend large chunks of their day processing information and churning out interesting commentary on it. The pure hobbyists like John Amato and Ed Morrissey, who have achieved huge readership simply through passion and hard work, are exceptional, indeed.
That the Atlantic, arguably the most elite of the general interest policy magazines, would tend to hire Ivy League graduates shouldn’t be surprising, even if its uniformity in doing so is. And, even as a man with three degrees from decidedly unprestigious state schools, I must admit that they’ve put together quite a talented collection of bloggers. All but Fallows, who didn’t so far as I know have a blog previously, were on my reading list before they were assembled under a single masthead.