Inviting reader responses

A call for reactions to our story on immigration and wages

Jeff Isom, CC-BY-SA

We know a lot of people talk about The Economist. The nature of what we cover and how we do it helps us stimulate lots of conversation. Our leader articles throw out prescriptions for how governments should run their affairs, our Twitter polls ask provocative questions and our videos delve into surprising facts. We hope that after seeing some of our work there’s plenty for you to talk about.

And publishing on Medium gives us a new opportunity to get people talking, specifically around the issues raised in our coverage of American politics, which is our current spotlight here. Today we published an in-depth analysis on what immigration does to Americans’ wages. This is a contested question among both economists and politicians. It is a tension that runs through Democratic coalition, which includes both labour unions and advocates for immigration reform, and through the Republican one, which in this cycle has tried to combine pro-business policies with appeals to nativism. The approaching presidential election makes this issue a hot topic too. Hillary Clinton says she would push for comprehensive immigration reform within the first 100 days of her presidency; Donald Trump says he will build a wall along the border with Mexico.

We’ve published the story in our newspaper (subscribers will see it land on their doorsteps from tomorrow), on our website and here on Medium. As readers of Severe Contest know, we’re hoping to improve the quality of the debate around the American election. So publishing our story is not enough: we’ve re-posted it to Medium in the hope that writers here will not only see it, but also respond. Medium is filled with experts on this subject: people with professional knowledge of immigration and the economy, or personal experience as an undocumented worker.

There is nothing stopping readers from commenting on stories on our own website, but Medium’s innovative structure means that responses, or comments, become stories in their own right, elevating the status of a response to more than a throwaway comment below the line.

Our US editor John Prideaux would love to hear from the experts reading our work (expertise can be personal as well as professional). He’s inviting them to participate in our coverage of this issue by writing responses here on Medium. Other bloggers can respond elsewhere, of course. The Economist was founded in 1843 to participate in a “severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress”. We hope that the combination of our reporting with what we hope are rich and enlightening responses from readers of it will press forward in this ongoing contest.

As ever, we welcome your thoughts on this new experiment in our use of social media.

Adam Smith is deputy community editor at The Economist.