The barriers to entry into the opinion journalism market are zero. Gatekeepers have been rendered obsolete by blogs, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. And the allure of a “mainstream” media affiliation has fallen exponentially in value.
Malkin is right about the nonexistent barriers to entry, but I disagree with her underlying point. The Post has a huge audience, and I suspect that many bloggers, not to mention aspiring journalists, will jump at the chance to have their work seen by the readership of a paper the size of the Post, even when it is in decline.
Remember, too, that more liberals than conservatives want to be journalists. Contestants also aren’t competing for a long-term job at the Post, but a baker’s dozen of clips from there might boost the winner’s chances of landing a job in a tight and transforming media market.
The bad news: Bright, young conservatives need not apply. The Post has a habit of hiring up-and-coming liberal pundits. Odds are good that the contest is aimed directly at that market.
If readers alone were to pick the winner, a conservative writer with a strong social network might stand a chance. But you can bet that the “panel of Post personalities” won’t include more than token conservatives, and the panel will be the final arbiter.
A conservative has about as much chance of winning a contest to be the The Washington Post’s next pundit as he or she does of becoming the “Opinion Media Monitor” (aka, “Secret Agent Editor“) at The New York Times.
September 29th, 2009 - 11:18 am