Marking 300 at the Economist


I've been writing for the Economist  in print since 2005, and contributed a couple dozen pieces, mostly for the Technology Quarterly  supplement, including a cover story in the spring. I started to contribute to in the summer of 2010, starting at the new Babbage block for science and technology crossed with culture and policy. The editor at the time, who left a few months later, asked if I'd contribute a couple of items a week.

Three years later, I still more or less do. (I missed a few this summer between a heart procedure and taking over The Magazine.) I just hit the 300th item posted in the system, though it's not yet live. (A couple may not have been noted correctly in the early days, so I may be slightly over 300.)

Over three years, I've mostly written as Babbage (we typically write in the third person, as in "this Babbage finds himself in a morgue"), but also as Prospero, Gulliver, and Schumpeter, the books, travel, and business blog eponyms. In recent months, since the newspaper launched the Economist Explains blog, I've written a number of those as well. 

In a wonderful bit of timing, an Explains I wrote titled, "Who owns your data when you're dead?" was published the day I unexpectedly had a treadmill stress test turn into a heart stent to clear a blocked artery. Not long after, I wrote another Explains item: "How can radiation therapy cause heart disease?"

It's a privilege to write for the Economist  not just because it is, in fact, the best publication in the world. But also because the editors are a wonderful bunch who treat me well and nurture my words. It's a treat. 

While the print publication eschews bylines, it was decided after it began to run blogs that it would make sense to identify the author or authors of a post by initials as such entries were breezier and more personal. You can find me as "G.F. | SEATTLE"; this Google search will find some subset of my Babbage posts.