Monday, May 16, 2005

All the news that's free to print

Andrew Sullivan's post about the New York Times' decision to charge for its online op-ed pages is dead on:

By sectioning off their op-ed columnists and best writers, they are cutting them off from the life-blood of today's political debate: the free blogosphere. Inevitably, fewer people will link to them; fewer will read them; their influence will wane faster than it has already. The blog is already becoming a rival to the dated op-ed column format as a means of communicating opinion journalism. My bet is that the NYT's retrogressive move will only fasten the decline of op-ed columnists' influence.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to propose an op-ed for you, JP.

You're in the unique position as a former (very respected) journalist who now works in academia.

Throughout the week, Slate has been offering a duel, of sorts, between historians arguing the merits, and failings, of modern historical scholarship. The tidy question: Why does the public prefer Barnes & Nobles blockbusters to dry academic monographs?

You are a good writer. You now make a living within a academic structure that poops on good writing, especially narrative or descriptive prose.

Could you explore on this blog the tension between those in journalism writing the first draft of history, and those at your institution who explore the later versions of the past.

Perhaps you could identify the difficulties of making academic research relevant to the general public, and explore the reasons why too often there's a disconnect between the bright scholars in your midst and the people who could/should hear more about what they're doing, and why.

That would be a fascinating enterprise.

2:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the assigning editor, however, I won't pay you for this work. I will nevertheless identify you as a former Tribune-Review reporter and tie you in with Cyril Wecht, somehow.

2:34 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

One of the great things about blogs is no editors--and no assignments. Besides, I do what I can to avoid writing about subjects that overlap, even theoretically, with my job. But maybe when I have time to check out the stuff in Slate, I'll change my mind.

5:54 PM


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