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Oh hey, Boise’s on another list. Why isn’t this exciting anymore?

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NEWS ANALYSIS

You might have noticed that BoiseDev isn’t a place the trumpets a lot of those magazine or online lists. We profiled one this week – but it’s a rare thing.

On Idaho Matters this week, I chatted with host Gemma Gaudette about the cottage industry that popped up around making “best of” lists.

Once upon a time, a high ranking on a prominent list might make the average Idaho resident feel a sense of pride. But these days, sentiment seems… a little less excited.

The Boise Valley Economic Partnership maintains a list of lists – and they run the gamut. From #6 Happiest State to Unexpectedly Awesome Coffee Cities to Best City for Eclectic Travelers… if there’s a list, it seems Boise or Idaho pops up.

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Earlier this week, Fox Business hosted Gov. Brad Little for a segment about two lists Idaho showed up on. One, the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Laffer Economic Outlook named Idaho second. The network also touted Boise’s fast-growing real estate market.

Two key factors mix together to make the glut of lists less interesting or important than they used to be.

  1. Many websites are trying to generate rankings to attract news coverage. Just about every day in my inbox, I have an email from a credit card offer website touting some list. This summer they trumpeted Boise being the 8th best city in the country for renters. Really?
  2. Most of the rankings don’t add much to the conversation. Once in a while, it might illuminate something unique or newsworthy (this is the case I made for Inc. Magazine’s list), but generally, the lists use an opaque jumble of data and math that don’t mean much.

We do like data – and regularly feature interesting information that helps drive the conversation. From Census nuggets to commercial real estate stats, this type of detail helps. But a list ginned up to sell a credit card? No, thanks.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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