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My Daily Read: Richard Thompson Ford

Publication Date: 
November 16, 2011
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Professor Richard Thompson Ford shares what books, magazines, journals and blogs have become his “Daily Read” in this Chronicle of Higher Education article.

Richard Thompson Ford is a professor of law at Stanford University.

Q. What’s the first thing you read in the morning?

A. I usually read The New York Times—the front page, Op-Ed, Business, and Arts sections; Slate—especially anything written by Dahlia Lithwick, Christopher Hitchens, or Emily Bazelon—and the San Francisco Chronicle. If there’s something especially important happening overseas, I also read the BBC News page online.

Q. What newspapers and magazines do you subscribe to or read regularly? What do you read in print versus online versus mobile?

A. I subscribe to The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, and I’m a regular Slate reader—I read them in print and online, depending on where I am. I also subscribe to The New Yorker and Esquire. The iPad apps for the Times, Chronicle, and Slate are all quite good. The Esquire app is fabulous—a case study in how to exploit a new medium.


Q. Do you read blogs? If so, what blogs do you like best?

A. I’m not a big fan of blogs generally—too much bad writing, sloppy thinking, and vitriol. But there are exceptions. I like Balkinization and the Volokh Conspiracy for legal commentary. My favorite blogs are those that make use of the media in interesting ways—text is typically better done when professional editors are involved, but sometimes blogs that use text plus video or photos offer something traditional media can’t duplicate. For instance, The Sartorialist is a great “blog” that consists almost entirely of photos. The photographer also publishes in magazines, but the collection of photos available on his site provides an experience that is more than the sum of its parts. Small Screen Network, with Robert Hess, is a great site with recipes for cocktails and video showing proper technique—something a book or magazine article can’t offer.

Q. Do you use Twitter? If so, whom do you follow?

A. I think Twitter is a social scourge, surpassed in its menace only by Facebook. Honestly, when I first heard the idea, I thought it was a spoof. I don’t follow anyone on Twitter—I have enough digital noise in my life already, thanks. That said, yes, I “use” both because I’m told one must do so to reach the younger generation of readers. So I’ve set up accounts for book promotion and to “tweet” (I suppose) my own horn about other publications and public lectures.