Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Geek...No, Really, It's a Compliment

Durham is often lauded, be it for its businesses, hospitals, food, art, theaters, festivals, lifestyle, and more.  But this latest one is special...really special.  Durham is receiving acclaim for being geeky.

Research Triangle Park is surrounded on three sides by the city of Durham with a small portion that spills into Wake county towards Morrisville and Apex. RTP is the home to some of the nation's biggest, smartest and most innovative businesses.  It, alongside many of Durham's other university and entrepreneurial assets make this ranking pretty clear.  Geeky or not, Durham is a true brain trust stronghold.

There is an accepted definition of geeky that was used for this ranking in Forbes. From the US National Science Foundation, a geek is defined as as any worker with a bachelor’s level of knowledge and education in science or engineering-related fields or workers in occupations that require some degree of technical knowledge or training, according to the Forbes article.

Lest readers be confused, here is a bit of an explanation to help clarify the ranking.  The city of Durham does not stand alone in this list - the rank is actually of MSAs, or Metropolitan Statistical Areas.  The one in which Durham lies, the Durham, NC MSA is actually made up of four counties: Chatham, Durham, Orange and Person.  Read between the lines and our close neighbor Chapel Hill deserves some credit here of which they were stripped by omission in the listing. 

The article references  the "Raleigh-Durham-Cary area" which is not an MSA, but a CMSA, or grouping of adjacent MSAs.  It is an all too common practice for rankings to say they are of cities and to actually be of MSAs.  Frankly, it's lazy journalism not to explain the difference, and an affront to readers that the media think the concept is too difficult to grasp and not germane to the facts of the story.  The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), as Durham's official marketing agency and monitor of Durham's image, always likes to clarify the distinction.

"Rankings are low hanging fruit for the media.  They are easy to produce, highly subjective and can be built on just about any parameter or criteria to fit the need of the author," said Sam Poley, Director of Marketing and Communications at DCVB.  "Print media are weathering the economy poorly, their staff's are dwindling, and rankings sell.  We're always happy to be listed in quality rankings and we always dig into the methodology of a ranking to ensure that the science at least has some merit, as it does in this case," he added.

All Durham rankings and accolades are indexed on a database and searchable online at the Durham Accolades website maintained by DCVB.

Thanks to Durham blog Bull City Rising for being early out of bed today to report this news.  As usual, their work is exhaustive and complete.

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