Chris Jones, Writer-at-Large for Esquire, is a good writer. His profile of Roger Ebert in February of 2010 is perhaps his most popular piece, but he’s been churning out quality work for Esquire for years. Jones’ writing is the kind that causes you to reread the article because it made you think, then read it again just to see how the hell he put together words like that. So when he started a blog about writing, it got people talking. Then yesterday, when he wrote a post called “How to be a professional writer,” and nailed what it’s like to be a journalist today, while also blasting Jason Whitlock, the Fox Sports writer in the process, it got people yelling.
In his post, Jones discusses what he thinks makes a great professional writer, and names Whitlock as the antithesis of that:
Well, here’s the stone-cold truth, kids: Jason Whitlock has no soul. He’s neither a good reporter nor a good writer. He’s a bloviator who’s somehow carved out a niche for himself as a kind of anti-establishment figure by making references to The Wire and pretending he’s the second coming of Ralph Wiley, when Ralph Wiley would be fucking mortified to be associated with Whitlock’s brand of self-serving buffoonery.
Jones tells FishbowlNY that he singled Whitlock out because he encapsulates everything that is wrong with writing today. It worries him that Whitlock’s style is what young writers think will lead to success in the industry.