News Junkie Smackdown

How the Web Makes My Job as Columnist Harder
Policy made plain.
July 22 2009 3:14 PM

News Junkie Smackdown


Hi. I may be a little unhelpful this morning as I've been sidetracked by my column, which is about the Skip Gates episode. This kind of story is God's gift to columnists—offbeat, bizarre, full of comic detail, and yet touching on all sorts of important issues. Trouble is, all columnists are going to be tempted by it, and there may not be enough aperçus to go around. The Web both helps and hurts in such a situation. It helps in that you can check what all the bloggers and other columnists are saying to make sure that what strikes you as a brilliant insight isn't actually a tired cliché. It hurts in that the journey from fresh insight to tired cliché takes about half an hour rather than a couple of days.

It's interesting that both Tim and Sam chose the Dreamliner story. I would like to hear from the Web-only folks in D.C.: Did this story appear on your radar and, if so, how? Was it No. 1? I doubt it. This is a good example of the kind of thing that Drudge and the Daily Beast aren't going to care much about.


As for the California budget story, I suspect that this is one where the main advantage of the Web is the ability to get the Los Angeles Times. Sam, as an alum, how did the LAT do with this story? If they can't own it, it's really over for them.

And yet it has obvious implications for everyone. California managed to cut $26 billion from their budget. Other states will have to impose similar cuts—and the federal government will, too, over the next few years. And there's the political angle. Arnold's stock has plummeted in the past few years. Is it soaring today? 

Michael Kinsley is a columnist for the Washington Post and the founding editor of Slate.


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.