A day at Tumblr.


Best wishes from Saul Alinsky, radical left-wingers, and people who don’t like the classical America.


Best wishes from Saul Alinsky, radical left-wingers, and people who don’t like the classical America.

Inch By Column Inch



on the art of the newspaper column.

Photograph by Ralph Schoenstein via Smithsonian.com

John Avlon, Jesse Angelo, and Errol Louis
Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columnists

Overlook Press, September 2011. 432 pp.

A mere 60 years ago, at the front end of my love-hate affair with the published word, I went to work for my first “real” newspaper, an actual evening daily willing to pay a salary-like sum for my dubious services. The paper was the Herald in Augusta, Georgia. It subscribed to a feature service called NEA, which sold columns and other stories in a one-price package deal that the Herald and many other papers seemed to find irresistible. Unlike its à la carte rivals, whose wares were typesetter-ready, NEA delivered its viands neatly laid out on printed pages that made them look more attractive to editors.

That extra dash of typography meant somebody had to clip the stories chosen for print and paste them onto sheets of copy paper — a quaint necessity of the day — before writing a headline and sending the lot to the composing room, there to be set in type once again.

That somebody — often me — could be counted on to have scissors, rubber-cement pot, and a deskload of soft-leaded, blacker-than-Hitler’s-heart No. 2 copy pencils at the ready. Which is how I came to be thus accessorized for my first meeting with the work of James Earl Breslin Jr., whose writing accounted for roughly half of the most interesting stories in NEA’s sports section, the Green Sheet. I had no reason to wonder about the fellow’s age then, and besides, he was in New York and I was in Augusta. Had I known he was 23, but a couple of years older than I was while gluing down his columns for the linotype operators, I might well have considered dropping out of the game then and there.

Jimmy, you see, had already fast-tracked himself into a job that required more than mere reporting and promised greater rewards. He was very nearly a columnist already, all but freed from the tedious requirements of “objectivity.” In Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columnists, a new and important anthology, the great Russell Baker describes it this way: The objectivity code “forbade a reporter to write of, say, Senator Blattis: ‘Lying as usual, Senator Blattis declared today …’” Baker concluded, “This obligation to assist in dignifying inferior men … made you feel as though you were nothing more than a megaphone for the convenience of frauds.”

And that is why, like the young Jimmy Breslin, Baker made it a priority to become a columnist as quickly as possible, succeeding so famously that his op-ed essays ran in The New York Times from 1962 to 1998. For Jimmy, NEA’s many papers supplied a nationwide wall on which his talent could grow like a trumpet vine. He’d gone from a 15-year-old copyboy at the Long Island Press to 25-year-old pro still honing his talents under NEA sports editor Harry Grayson, and preparing for … who knew what? What he became was the columnist’s columnist, perhaps the best ever, still writing at age 82 in a time when newspapers themselves are in their own twilight.

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(Source: lareviewofbooks)

@innovations: Explore the future of news with Post staff


People are engaging with news in a multitude of ways that couldn’t have been imagined even 10 years ago.  Facebook, Twitter and other platforms have turned distribution models on their heads; major news organizations are experimenting with personalization (The Post certainly is with Trove and Ongo); and the iPad allows you to hold a multitude of competing news apps in the palm of your hand.

A list of every radical change happening to the news business needs its own website and those already exist. The goal of @innovations is to help you make sense of the fray and ask you to join it as we write about how our newsroom is changing while we showcase innovations sprouting up around the world.

We don’t want to just tell you what we think. We want to be transparent as we explore and experiment. To that end, this blog is powered by Tumblr and we’re taking our inaugural run at SXSW Interactive.  
We’ll post explainers as we launch new digital features. And most importantly, we’ll be asking YOU for your ideas about the news. To kick things off, I’d like you to meet (and follow) the co-pilots of @innovations, who will be curating the web:

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(Source: washingtonpostinnovations)


Video of the segment where Jon Stewart references this blog regarding #weinergate.