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The Media Elite Mainly Write Like David Foster Wallace

iwritelike.pngPeople on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and elsewhere have lately been having fun with I Write Like, a website that employs statistical analysis to find literary matches to people’s writing. We were curious as to what ghosts haunt the keyboards of some of New York media’s biggest names, so we plugged a bunch of recent writing samples into the machine to find out. (Some names come from outside New York, for the purposes of rigor.)

This thing is far from foolproof. We loaded “I Write Like” with the opening paragraph from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” and it said Poe writes like H. P. Lovecraft. Which is true, but we thought it might’ve said Poe writes like Poe.

Rachel Sklar, Mediaite: David Foster Wallace
John Koblin, New York Observer: David Foster Wallace
Felix Salmon, Reuters: David Foster Wallace
Emily Gould, freelance: David Foster Wallace
David Carr, The New York Times: David Foster Wallace
Sharon Waxman, TheWrap: David Foster Wallace
Jack Shafer, Slate: David Foster Wallace
Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine: David Foster Wallace

Okay, we tampered with the data. After the jump, writers who managed to write something that doesn’t sound like Infinite Jest. Spoiler: Henry Blodget writes like Dan Brown. So does Nick Denton.

Henry Blodget, The Business Insider: Dan Brown
Tom McGeveran, Capital: Stephen King
Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post: J.R.R. Tolkien
Nick Denton, Gawker: Dan Brown
Dodai Stewart, Jezebel: Stephenie Meyer
Choire Sicha, The Awl: Leo Tolstoy
Hamilton Nolan, Gawker: Stephen King
John Cook, Yahoo News: Chuck Palahniuk
Doree Shafrir, freelance: Edgar Allan Poe
The Economist: Arthur Conan Doyle
Jon Friedman, MarketWatch: Stephen King
Peter Kafka, All Things Digital: Dan Brown
Tom Scocca, Slate: Arthur C. Clarke
Foster Kamer, Village Voice: Raymond Chandler
Jason Fell, Folio: Kurt Vonnegut
Jake Dobkin, Gothamist: Stephen King

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