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January 9, 2004
Hell, I'll Take the Job

Glenn Reynolds, the indispensable Instapundit, writes in his MS-NBC column that the New York Times needs an editorial transfusion:

And if you read the Times oped page regularly, as fewer and fewer people seem to do these days, you'll notice a distinct staleness about many of the columnists. The Times oped page needs turnover -- either permanent, or temporary, with columnists sent off to do actual reporting, or something, for six months or a year while they regain their edge. But who would fill the gaps?

Reynolds then discusses a couple of options available to the Gray Lady, including giving occasional guest columnist Dan Savage a regular run while Dowd and Krugman go on an extended vacation. (Maybe Krugman can write another book to follow up The Great Unraveling? He can write about trying to unravel during a record growth period.) Reynolds notes that Savage isn't even outside of the Times' mainstream, which should make the interval relatively pain-free.

I have a few suggestions for NYT's managing editor. Look around the blogosphere for some fresh meat. Glenn notes that writing a column isn't equivalent to blogging:

I write a lot more words than Krugman, but it's mostly blogging -- and the difference between writing blog entries and writing a full-up newspaper column is the difference between improvising jazz and composing a symphony. The composing may or may not be better, on some cosmic scheme of things, but it's definitely a lot harder.

Maybe so, but Glenn also writes columns, and pretty good ones, for MS-NBC and Slate. I could definitely see Glenn writing something that at least matches the quality of Dowd and Krugman, although matching their quality is hardly Glenn's point, I readily concede. I could see people like Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost or Steven den Beste being able to come up with two columns a week. Perhaps a better approach would be to ask a rotating group of solid-writing bloggers to contribute a column once a week, or once every two weeks. Enable trackback pinging while they're at it, too, in order to energize their blogosphere readership.

I'd love to see a major daily take this kind of risk with a few bloggers and build a bridge between the media and their most involved customers. Perhaps sometime soon ...

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 9, 2004 1:28 PM

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