* Technical note: Examining columns with the greatest readership can’t prove that the factors I list are the reason those pieces attracted larger audiences, but the list is consistent with my overall experience at CJR and hopefully illustrates some larger points about the direction of journalism in 2014.

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Brendan Nyhan is an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College. He blogs at brendan-nyhan.com and tweets @BrendanNyhan.