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How the U.S. News Rankings Hurt Colleges, Kim Kardashian = Genius and More Morning #Mustreads

How college rankings hurt colleges, and the underrated business savvy of Kim Kardashian.

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Good morning!

Here’s some freshly-cooked content, whipped up in the Re/code kitchen:

  1. Vox’s education beat reporter Libby Nelson is one of the better policy journalists on the Internet today, and her latest piece, on the annual U.S. News college rankings, is a great example of why. She outlines, more authoritatively than anyone since Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker in 2011, how colleges have adjusted organization-wide goals to include advancement in the rankings, regardless of how detrimental it is to the school. Example: Northeastern University, which rose from 162nd in 1996 to 49th in this year’s rankings, through a number of shady methods.
  2. If you’re still cracking jokes about the Kardashian family, their reality show or the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile game, then you’re missing the point. So says Ruth Curry in Brooklyn Magazine: “Kim Kardashian — and maybe Kim Kardashian alone — has figured out how to make a fortune on the countless hours of emotional labor most women are expected to perform for free: smiling, looking pretty, being accommodating, being charming, being a good hostess.”
  3. Everyone has an opinion about the Apple Watch (despite the fact that almost no one has gotten to see how the thing actually works). But only Ben Thompson has a smart analysis about the way Tim Cook introduced his product compared to the way Steve Jobs introduced his new products, and what that means.
  4. The gossip site TMZ scooped every major newspaper and sports publication with its stories about Donald Sterling’s racist remarks, Heisman winner Jameis Winston’s sexual assault case and, now, elevator footage of former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice. In Slate’s XX Factor, Amanda Hess argues that the site has moved beyond basic gossip and is now on the frontier of a new kind of social justice journalism.
  5. Some people who type things on the Internet are upset about a Vanity Fair list about people who type things on the Internet, because they think the magazine’s list of “Media Industry Disruptors,” is too white and too male. The Toast’s Mallory Ortberg attempts to rectify that.

If you see any stories you’d like to send our way (or have any questions/comments about stories we’ve recommended), feel free to shoot an email to

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