A freak blog migrates into an institution

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After over two years at freakonomics.com, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner — co-authors of the 3-million-copies "Freakonomics" — last week moved their blog under a bigger and more institutional brand, that of the Opinion section of the New York Times’ website.

Levitt spoke at TED2004 offering a preview of a chapter of "Freakonomics" titled "Why do crack dealers still live with their moms?" (watch the video) and exposing his very unconventional approach to economic analysis.

The migration of the blog wouldn’t be a remarkable event (even though the blog is very interesting and highly interactive, attracting hundreds of readers’ comments) were it not for two facts. The move, in a way, closes a circle: "Freakonomics" was born from a profile that Dubner wrote about Levitt for the New York Times Magazine in 2003, "The Economist of Odd Questions". It also underscores a nascent trend, that of well-known bloggers moving into newspapers’ and magazines’ websites, creating synergies and pooling readerships — another step towards the hybridization of the media. The NYT is not the first to try this strategy: France’s Le Monde, for example, has been doing so for a while.