New York Times Reads Professors’ E-Mail
3 January 2014
The New York Times obtained “hundreds of emails and other documents” about public university professors in Texas and Illinois through Freedom of Information requests.
[Kocieniewski, David. “Academics Who Defend Wall St. Reap Reward.” New York Times, December 27, 2013. h/t Rebecca Tushnet]
As the Times explains,
interviews with dozens of academics and traders, and a review of hundreds of emails and other documents involving two highly visible professors in the commodities field — [Craig Pirrong of the University of Houston] and Professor Scott H. Irwin at the University of Illinois — show how major players on Wall Street and elsewhere have been aggressive in underwriting and promoting academic work . . .
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for example, at times blur the line between research and public relations.
The exchange’s public relations staff has helped Mr. Irwin shop his pro-speculation essays to newspaper op-ed pages, according to emails reviewed by The Times.
I think I’m OK with allowing journalists to trace financial support to professors, but I’m queasy about the release of e-mail that merely dispenses advice on publication.