Good reads from across the web that you might have missed:
Weed > Booze? Come on guys, no need to fight. There’s room in our lives for both of you. In National Journal by Ben Terris.
Good reads from across the web that you might have missed:
Weed > Booze? Come on guys, no need to fight. There’s room in our lives for both of you. In National Journal by Ben Terris.
Starting April 28, this online event will show you the best way to start your freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. By the end of this online boot camp you will have a plan for making a profitable career as a freelancer, and the skill set to devote yourself to it. Register now!
Say hello to Washington Free Beacon writer Bill McMorris, a writer covering the labor beat for the Washington Free Beacon. Brooklyn born Bill has contributed to the conservative-leaning watchdog.org. McMorris is the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Robert Novak Fellowship. He’s been known to sport a mean bowtie, and tweets under the handle @FBillMcMorris (according to Bill, the F stands for “Fancy”).
How often do you Google yourself? I try not to do it too often because I’m William J. McMorris III. The first time I Googled myself I found out my dad got sued.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? “I’ll have it ready in five minutes.” It always takes longer, making it the cruelest thing you can say to an editor. I make sure to say this daily.
Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Politico’s Jon Allen is always interesting. I never miss anything from The Weekly Standard‘s Matt Labash, Andrew Ferguson, or Free Beacon‘s Biff Diddle. But the only must-read byline I know of is on the Washington Free Beacon Staff. That guy’s always got the scoops.
If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? The 30 percent of my body that’s not water is recycled Budweiser.
Do you have a favorite word? Karate.
What word or phrase do you overuse? I overuse semicolons in stories and the F word in conversation.
Who would you rather have dinner with – MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinksi, Meghan McCain or CBS’s Gayle King. Tell us why. McCain only because I haven’t heard of the other two and I haven’t been kicked out of a restaurant in a couple years.
What is the most interesting conversation you’ve had in the course of your journalism career? Basically every conversation I’ve had that hasn’t involved my journalism career.
Tell us a funny story from your time as a journalist. Can be long or short. I once approached Dennis Miller at some fundraiser in Santa Barbara and said “Excuse me Mr. Miller, I’m sorry to interrupt” and he said “Yes, you are. Go stand over there.” I stood in the corner and to my surprise he came over and gave me a great interview when he finished his conversation.
The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Jodi Arias or Monica Lewinksy? Who will it be? (Neither is not an option.) Monica Lewinsky is too old to repopulate, isn’t she? My wife’s way more violent than Arias, so I think I could handle it. I’m the oldest of nine kids, so we’d have the earth back up and running in no time. Read more
Anthony Weiner admitted yesterday to using the online alias Carlos Danger to carry on a strange Internet affair with a 22-year-old woman. If you’re anything like us, that got you wondering how Weiner came up with such a great alias. Already having graced the news media by having the last name Weiner, he’s provided another amazing name to fill headlines and Twitter jokes.
But lets face it, sometimes we all need an alias, whether it’s to ghost-write a book or set up a Swedish bank account to hold mounds of embezzled money. And if you haven’t found your inner-Carlos Danger yet, don’t worry, it’s not hard at all. Yesterday afternoon, Chris Kirk of Slate posted a Carlos Danger Name Generator that figures it out for you. We of course had to figure out the alter-egos of the FBDC staff, as well as a few journos around D.C. Enjoy.
Silvestre Sly: Betsy Rothstein, FBDC
José Jeopardy: Peter Ogburn, FBDC
Pascual Death: Justin McLachlin, FBDC
Lorenzo Distress: Austin Price, FBDC
Now see the rest…
Say hello to Roger Stone, the GOP consultant and strategist who is among the more colorful Twitter handles around these days. He’s also an unpaid contributor to HuffPost and writes TheStoneZone, a blog about whatever the hell is on his mind. He shoots from the hip with just about anyone who can stand it. For example, when CNN Contributor and Washington Watch’s Roland Martin recently called him the Pee Wee Herman of GOP Politics, Stone replied, “And your the Sir Mix-a-lot to TV- fat, ignorant and poorly dressed.” When Martin suggested that Stone douse himself in holy water, Stone had a simple question in return: “Who made you God, Fattass?[sic] Eat some more Popeye’s.” Late last night, he sent us his interview with a preface note. It read, “In your inbox, Warning — ADULT MATERIAL.” When we phoned him this morning, Stone’s voicemail is a dignified-sounding woman with a British accent telling you to leave a message at the beep. It’s his longtime assistant, D.J. Thorne, who has been with him for more than two decades. Asked about being an unpaid HuffPost Contributor, he says, “Yeah, it would be nice [to get paid], but it’s a great outlet.” Writing there twice a month serves a purpose. “When I write, I would like to get beyond right-wing extremists,” he says. “I’d like to have a broader audience. I’m not your conventional conservative. I’m a Libertarian and a Libertine.” Every Tuesday morning he posts on TheStoneZone: “I post on politics, food, something obnoxious. I have a pretty decent following. I’d like to post everyday, but I can’t do it all the time.” His feelings about Twitter: “I love the format of Twitter. You get in, you get out.” He says he tries to avoid fighting and admits he gets a sizable amount of hate mail that he ignores. He points to BuzzFeed‘s Alex Kaczynski as a proverbial thorn in his side. “He insists that my white dinner jacket is wrong,” Stone says. “He’s wrong. If he engages me, as he occasionally does, then I have to respond with the correct sartorial rules.” Stone says it’s okay to wear the white dinner jacket between Memorial Day and Labor Day. “He doesn’t think it’s right anytime,” Stone says. “He doesn’t get the white dinner jacket thing. He never checked with Sean Connery obviously.” Stone also incites people by introducing political disputes into the zeitgeist. “Hillary Clinton constantly lies,” he says. “She’s lying about Benghazi. If I put that up, you get hundreds of retweets. There are certain heavy retweets. If I write about the fine points of Austrian economics, no one will retweet that. No, I don’t write about that. It’s a little dry.” Stone doesn’t just fight online. Stone, who lives in Miami Beach, says he’s currently in a dispute with WPLG Channel 10′s Bob Norman because I have helped a couple of young men start a new community blog called The Broward Bugle. “They object. They say this isn’t real. 100,000 readers. Sorry, welcome to the new media,” says Stone. “You don’t have a monopoly on the new media. They’ve gotten a few scoops. They resent the competition. My attitude is get off your dead ass, report the news or someone else will.”
If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be? I would be Pellegrino. I’m half Italian. I’m Italian from the waist down.
How often do you Google yourself? Permanent Google News and Blog alert.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)? Fuck You.
Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Matt Labash, Weekly Standard, no one does it like him.
Do you have a favorite word? Fuck-it’s so descriptive.
Who are you named after and what are people’s general reaction to your name? Named after my father, a well digger his whole life. It’s a good name. Fits on a bumper-sticker.
Who would you rather have dinner with – NBC’s Brian Williams, CNN’s Roland Martin, ABC’s Sherri Shepherd or Fox News’ Megyn Kelly? Tell us why. Megyn Kelly. She’s hot. Roland Martin? The guy’s a buffoon. I know so many other men, black and white, who are smarter, more articulate and better on TV. Why Roland? Besides – a black man in a fuscia ascot ? No.
The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Scandal’s Kerry Washington, Homeland’s Claire Danes or any of the women from FNC’s “The Five”. Who will it be? (None is not an option.) Kimberly Guilfoil. No Question. Can I have two? Will also take Krystal Ball (MSNBC) for 3-some action.
What swear word do you use most often? Fuck . Nixon said it constantly.
You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.) Maggie Haberman Politico, Richard Winger from Independent Political Report, Erroll Louis from NY-1 and Nick Confessore of the New York Times.
On a serious note for a moment, if you could have dinner with a person who has died, who would it be? Napoleon. Born in Corsica, he was in fact Italian, which is why he was able to conquer most of the civilized world. No Frenchman could do this.
When you pig out what do you eat? Pizza. Pizza is like sex. Even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good ( Stone’s Rules) All pizza is good when it’s 3am and you’re high.
Stone reveals a secret about himself he says few know…
By Betsy Rothstein and Eddie Scarry
We asked Washington journalists to tell us something they want or something they want to happen in 2013. There’s a few New York-based political scribes sprinkled in here. Here’s what they told us.
CBS Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett: “I want political courage and skill commensurate with that demonstrated by our armed forces and diplomats in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other places of peril since 9/11.”
The Daily Caller‘s Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson: “I’d like to catch more trout. And I plan to.”
The Weekly Standard‘ Matt Labash: “I’m hoping this is the year in which the internet finally craters. It’s had a good run, but nobody ever shuts it off. So after all this relentless exposure – after everyone having their say, then saying a lot more – we now get sick of people in minutes that used to take us years to get sick of otherwise. Which is why I’m pulling for less connectedness, and more solitude. Less digital. More analog. More wondering what people think, instead of knowing, then being disappointed. Less concern about trending topics. More concern with staying unconcerned about what everybody else is concerned about. Also, I think 2013 is going to be the Year of Joey Lawrence. He’s due. And with the internet disappearing, we’re going to need something/someone to fill the void. To teach us how to live again. To show us the old ways.”
WJLA’s Rebecca Cooper: “My wish list for 2013: 1) Jayne Sandman’s body WITHOUT Jayne Sandman’s workout schedule; 2) Pamela Sorensen’s social schedule WITHOUT Pamela Sorensen’s late night hours; 3) Dana Bash and Susanna Quinn’s Super Mom abilities WITHOUT Dana Bash and Susanna Quinn’s early morning wakeup calls; And – the thing I would most like in 2013: 4) to see my friends who cover politics without having to go to New Hampshire or Iowa in winter or Tampa or Charlotte in August to see them.”
Raptor Strategies’ David Bass: “Shock and awe.”
FishbowlDC and Current TV’s Full Court Press Co-host Peter Ogburn: ”Peace, love and harmony finally coming to the nation’s capital. Also, I’d like to see a fistfight between Tim Grieve and David Martosko.”
FishbowlDC and The Blaze‘ Eddie Scarry: “I’d like Politico to be the first news organization to genetically engineer a reporter with a Blackberry for genitals. Makes anonymous sourcing of political operatives that much easier.”
Queen Levine (a.k.a. radio correspondent Mark Levine): “In 2013, I’d like to see mediabistro get just a few basic facts right. Jon Stewart has proven you can be snarky and a journalist. (If you want to just make shit up, that’s fine too, but then you gotta know you’re doing it and be funny. Like the Onion. Good luck in 2013! And let me know if you need help understanding any of the hard words above. Like ‘journalist.’” (We suspect Levine’s snappy answer is in response to the drama queen’s appearance on our year-end list. He never misses a chance to brag about himself. Long live the queen!)
Current TV’s David Shuster: “In 2013, I want the baby Kera and I are having to come out healthy and happy and to possess a little more tact and patience than me — In other words, be like his/her mother.”
The Hill’s Managing Editor Bob Cusack: After about a year in the works, I finished a new screenplay this month (It’s not about politics). I hope to sell it in 2013. I also want to see Barney Frank get on Twitter in the new year.
Tommy Christopher, Mediaite White House Correspondent: “Besides fetch? In 2013 I really want a federal assault weapons ban (including semiautomatic handguns) with Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s NFA grandfather clause, and a federal firearms registry with a psychological fitness test, to happen.”
The Daily Caller‘s Jeff Poor: “Just off the top of my head, I’d like to see…1) Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher go away — go back to selling men’s suits or something 2) Political journalists to stop acting enamored with Robert Griffin, III and Bryce Harper as if they’re life-long Washington, DC sports fans 3) Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert to find Jesus or some other form of organized religion of his choosing and have a little love in his heart 4) Someone to remind me why BuzzFeed Politics exists.”
SiriusXM’s Julie Mason: “In 2013, Gov. Rick Perry needs his own talk show, a la Huckaboom (but sassier). There must be world recognition of the massive journalistic skills of Josh Rogin, Josh Lederman, Andrew Harnik and Meredith Shiner. We should also pause, as a nation, to admire Suzanne Malveaux‘s new, longer hairstyle. Because that shit is awesome. Also, my favorite shows need to quit the nine-month hiatus between seasons. That is really annoying.”
WaPo‘s Jennifer Rubin: “Real entitlement reform. Gumming up the Obamacare works. Republicans champion immigration reform.”
WJLA’s Steve Chenevey: “Can we extend the telecommuting concept to journalism? I’m all for home studios in 2013. Would love to get PR pitches more than a day in advance. And the freedom to critique viewers on their choice of outfit for the day. Not that I would ever do that, but overly opinionated viewers never seem to surprise me.”
See more wishes… Read more
On Thursday, we began rolling out the results of our Summer Superlatives and today, you get to meet the rest of the winners. Thanks for voting.
Today’s results kicks off with the Best Dressed category. This cage match was between Politico’s Ken Vogel and Kate Nocerra, WaPo’s Jonathan Capehart, RCP’s Erin McPike, and CNN’s Kate Balduan. This contest wasn’t even close. While we had a feeling Capehart would be the clear winner, he was a very distant second to Kate Balduan! Congrats, Kate. Your prize is a $1 gift card to Fashion Bug!
Moving right along, we asked you to name Washington’s Best Writer. Your choices were The Weekly Standard’s Matt Labash, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, NJ’s Major Garrett, NYT’s Mark Leibovich, Ashley Parker and Maureen Dowd, WaPo‘s Karen Tumulty, HuffPost’s Eliot Nelson, and Washingtonian’s Luke Mullins. This one was a close one to call. It was a two-man race between Garrett and Labash, but in the end, Major Garrett came through and was voted the winner. It should be noted that today is Garrett’s birthday.
Which Washington journo is Most In Need of a Salad? We asked you to choose between Politico’s Jonathan Allen and Jonathan Martin, Slate‘s Dave Weigel, HuffPost’s Peter Cherukuri and Jason Linkins, FNC’s Bob Beckel and Bret Baier, and author and former TWTer Rich Miniter. This was another category where it wasn’t even close. The FNC team of Bob Beckel and Bret Baier were the heavy favorites and
waddled walked their way to an easy victory.
Next up, we had the category that saw more votes than any other, Sexiest. Your sultry selections were AP‘s Steve Peoples, Atlantic Publisher Justin Smith, Washingtonian‘s Kate Bennett, Real Housewives of D.C.’s sassy stylist Paul Wharton, CNN’s Brianna Keilar, NBC4′s Doug Kammerer and Maynard Institute’s Richard Prince. The winner by a slim, sexy (and consenting) majority was Brianna Keilar.
On the other side of the coin, we have Who is Most In Need of a Makeover? Your choices were CQ Roll Call (the entire publication), The Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle, TWT’s Stephen Dinan, DCRTV’s Dave Hughes and Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher. Once again, this was a two-man race between Christopher and Boyle. While Christopher just looks generally disheveled, the overall train wreck that is Matthew Boyle was voted the winner. Congrats, Matt. We hear that Paul Wharton may be available to help turn you into a beautiful swan.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Best On-Air Personality. The heavy-hitters on this list were ABC’s Jake Tapper, The Daily Caller’s Tucker Carlson, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, CBS’s Bob Schieffer and Nancy Cordes, HuffPost‘s Sam Stein, and WaPo’s Nia-Malika Henderson. At the end of the day, the experience of Schieffer couldn’t keep up with your winner, Jake Tapper!
Congratulations to all of our winners.
Today is The Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson‘s birthday. So we figured we’d take this opportunity to get others around town and beyond to help us wish him a happy birthday. At left is a photograph of what is apparently a red Daily Caller thong on the door to Carlson’s former office. We have no idea what it is doing there or why Carlson would leave it hanging on the doorknob. Photo credit: Anonymous.
Daily Caller Publisher Neil Patel: “Tucker, in honor of your birthday I have decided to refrain from telling Betsy Rothstein about the time in college that you wore a euro style banana hammock speedo on the beach in Nicaragua. Your secret is safe with me. Happy birthday, Neil”
Raptor Strategies’ David Bass offers a poem:
From motorcycle to moped
From bow-tie to lengthy Foulard
As Tucker slouches toward middle age
His latest change is not hard
Mediaite White House Correspondent Tommy Christopher: “I was going to get him a black velvet painting of Barack Obama Greco-Roman wrestling with The New Black Panthers, but I thought, ‘Does he really need another one?’”
Former Daily Caller online editor and writer Jeff Winkler, a D.C. refugee who is living and writing in Arkansas: “Since my former boss looks to be between the ages of 14 and 40, I don’t know whether to offer him a gentlemenly handshake or a ribbon-adorned pony. But considering that he once slashed me across the face with his fly rod, my B-day gift — sent courteous of the USPS — is a collection of photos from my recent nude escapade involving archery, yoga and bobbing for apples. And I’d like to promise him that we’ll meet up again in the near future, but that always seems to be taken as a threat. Regardless, I wish Tucker the best in the coming years. If Washington D.C. had any sense, it would follow North Korea’s example and build ‘towers to his immortality.’”
MSNBC “Morning Joe” Co-host Willie Geist: “Happy Birthday to my all-time favorite ‘bow-tyin’ white boy’!”
FBDC’s Peter Ogburn: “My wish is that he gets ANYTHING but a gun.” (Peter was once mildly threatened by Carlson. He’s slowly getting over the PTSD from that experience.)
Politico‘s Patrick Gavin: “Tucker, my wish for you on your birthday is that, if you ever turn me into a puppet, just make it a skinny, buff puppet.” (See relevant link here in which The Daily Caller turns a Capitol Hill press secretary into a puppet.)
The Weekly Standard‘s Matt Labash: “Back in the early 90s, when all things were possible and there was still dew on the world, I remember a young, reckless Tucker peering out of his cloud of smoke (he used to rip through two packs a day on the principle that ‘clear lungs are for pussies’) while pronouncing, ‘I hope I die before I get old.’ He often spoke in song lyrics back then. It was part of his whole rock’n'roll lifestyle. Now that he is old, however, I trust he’ll choose life, as his Wham! sweatshirt implored (again with the rock’n'roll – but Andrew Ridgely was his hero). If not, and he follows through on his original threat, I’ll be here for his family, his dogs, and his bamboo fly rod, the last of which he should really think about willing me. Now that you’re a senior citizen, Tucker, time to get serious about estate planning. Remember that in our increasingly accelerated world, 43 is the new 80. Happy birthday, old friend.”
In what is likely the most poetic reaction to Slate‘s Matt Yglesias‘s distasteful comments on Andrew Breitbart on the day he died, The Weekly Standard‘s Matt Labash declares him a “prick” in a late-night story that is making the rounds.
The focus of the story is hardly Yglesias. But the lines are a comical aside. He wrote: “(Well done, Matt! Perhaps you could pass your thoughtful sentiments on to his fatherless children, since they likely don’t follow you on Twitter. Prick.)”
In this story, Labash takes the reader on a journey — into a bar with Breitbart, on a trip to Chicago and on a plane with the conservative pied piper. The plane ride is a telling anecdote. Labash thinks he might get sleep on the plane ride back from Chicago. No such luck — Breitbart finagles it so that seatmates can swap and he and Labash can spend some quality time together. Rather, Breitbart could perform a one-man act and Labash could enjoy the show.
The end is eerie. Once in baggage claim, Labash asks if he can read a poem at his memorial service. Breitbart agrees to allow it. An excerpt:
Several years ago, when Breitbart was in the middle of one skirmish or another – I don’t even remember which one – I told him that I didn’t know whether I should encourage him, but that he made me laugh, as always. I asked him when someone finally shot him, “Can I read a poem at your memorial service? ”
“I think I should stop,” he admitted of his latest caper. “But it’s so fun and the hate mail is something to behold….And of course you can read my favorite poem, William Carlos William’s ‘Little Red Wheelbarrow’ at my wake.”
On Thursday night we welcomed upwards of 160 guests to Lost Society on U Street for a party so full of waves that some may never forget it. Journos climbed two super steep flights of stairs to reach the rooftop, which was filled with candles and drenched in rose petals. Notable guests in the crowd: Bloomberg‘s Margaret Carlson, The Daily Caller‘s Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson, USA Today‘s Jackie Kucinich, NJ‘s Major Garrett, GOP Consultant Ron Bonjean, TWT‘s Charlie Hurt, The Weekly Standard‘s Matt Labash, ABC7′s Stephen Tschida, WaPo‘s Erik Wemple, Capitol File Editor-in-Chief Kate Bennett, The Hill‘s Editor-at-Large Al Eisele and Managing Editor Bob Cusack, and CNN and former FishbowlDC Editor Matt Dornic. There are too many names to mention, but reporters, editors and publicists from the following news outlets showed up to down Belvedere Vodka cocktails and eat fish and chips, chicken waffles and bourbon s’mores: TPM, Politico, The Daily Caller, The Hill, Washington Examiner, ABC7, CNN, USA Today, HuffPost, Roll Call, NJ, Bloomberg, WaPo, TWT, Townhall.com, Thrillist, Breitbart’s Big Journalism, Yahoo! News, Washingtonian, UrbanDaddy.com, RCP, Q&A Celebrity, DCist, WaPo Express, Metro Weekly and The Times of London. FBDC favorite, Slate‘s Dave Weigel, unfortunately didn’t show — he was home with a cold. Conversation topics swung wildly from NYT Mark Leibovich‘s upcoming book on incestuous Washington, a mini-debate on male facial hair, journos doing stories on bras, stupid intern behavior, thin skinned journalists, a newsroom recently instructed to not site a publication that never sites them, The Drudge Report, The Daily Caller’s Media Matters series , the two speeds of The Daily Beast‘s Howard Kurtz, a hypothetical weed sale and whether “getting f–ked” is a good thing or an insult. No party is complete without Raptor Strategies’ David Bass. FBDC’s newest writers Peter Ogburn and Eddie Scarry were on hand to say hello to journos — well, most of them, anyhow. Peter spent the evening avoiding a certain editor whose name rhymes with Rucker Rarlson. He wasn’t the only one who feared coming face to face with Rarlson. Eddie, meanwhile, plotted his way into free vodka shots. Publicist Dannia Hakki, of Moki Media, organized the event. She has the patience of a saint.
Hollywood on the Potomac blogger and publicist Janet Donovan, who unfortunately didn’t make it into the party because she forgot her ID and the big, burly bouncer wasn’t taking chances, has a funny take on the evening here. Photo Credit: Dave Phillipich.
The Fishbowl trio: Peter, Betsy and Eddie.
Meghan, Nick, Dornic, Ballard
Carlson and Company…
Margaret Carlson and Stephen Smith
View more party pictures…
The Atlantic‘s James Fallows is the subject of our Tricks of the Trade interview this afternoon. He more than qualifies to answer these questions. He has written for the magazine since the late 1970s and once served as former President Jimmy Carter‘s chief speechwriter.
Favorite Interview Technique – It’s not so much a technique as a state of mind. The crucial imaginative leap for reporters is being comfortable with the reality of always dealing with people who know more than you do. Or you should strive always to be in that situation. This might sound like a “Duh!” point, but I think it is deceptively important. Suppose that you are a teacher. Or a doctor or an administrator or a politician. Or even a parent or a boss. Most of the time you’re in the situation of knowing more than the people who are coming to you, or being assumed to know more. You are the expert, they are the civilians. That is a comfortable situation, often too comfortable. There is a kind of ritual humiliation that goes with the opposite situation – of approaching the experts, from the position of the amateur. But that’s the only way you learn anything! So being comfortable with saying, “I don’t understand, do you mean?…” and “Sorry to ask a basic question, but…” is the state of mind I find most important for interviewing.
Most Compelling Question You’ve Ever Asked – In a variety of weird settings, it turns out to be variants of, “How can this be?” For instance: When I was living in China, I found it very hard to put two parts of reality together. One was all the data I saw, and stories I read, about China’s ever-larger financial holdings in the United States. China was rich! The other was what I saw around me all day every day: namely, a country that was absolutely full of poor people. So I started going to economists and financiers and bankers and saying, “How can this be?” Over the years, the most reliable guide to what will make a “good story” – in my particular venue of The Atlantic – is something that lends itself to “how can this be?” treatment. There’s usually an explanation for why things are the way they are. That is, the answer is usually not, “I have no idea ‘How this can be,’ it’s purely random.” Finding that explanation is a lot of the satisfaction in journalism for me.
Best Self-Editing Approach – Many of the answers here are obvious, so I won’t be the thousandth person to say that you should cut out “fancy” writing, etc. Instead I’ll say something I bet others have not said: For writing where “style” matters – where you want to sound polished – think of reading what you’ve written aloud, to see how it sounds. There’s a reason that matters. If you pay attention to writing that is meant to be heard – dialogue, poetry, memorable speeches – you will notice certain familiar patterns of rhythm and sound. For instance, in such writing the stress in a sentence often comes at the … end. Even for writing that will never actually be read aloud, somehow it flows better through the eye into the brain if its rhythm follows those rules too. So: if what you’re writing is important, consider taking the time to read it to yourself out loud. If something sounds unnatural in its rhythm, that’s a sign that you need to change it in some way. (Sorry, Fallows…we do love this suggestion, but The Weekly Standard/Daily Caller’s Matt Labash is the king of this technique…)
What to do When an Interview is Tanking…
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