April 10, 2003

Outgoing Newspaper Columnis...

Outgoing Newspaper Columnist -- I Had 'Nothing to Say'! Mark Simon was a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle for the last 10 years. Today, in his farewell piece, he talks about the strain of writing two newspaper columns a week:

I often found the requirement to form an opinion and express a point of view to be limiting -- an enforced bias that required the marshaling of facts to suit your own needs.

The other main constraint is that a column requires you to write all the time, at the same time, even if you've really got nothing to say. And just when you're done with a column, there's another one, waiting to be done.

It's like having a homework assignment that is never finished.

Free advice for my friends at the Chron: This guy won't run out of things to say! In fact, he could probably write a column twice as interesting for half the price....

Posted by at April 10, 2003 04:18 PM
Comments

Jesus, he thinks two columns a week is hard? I write every day. And the more I write, the more I have to say. I'd love to have the man's job if he can't handle it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 10, 2003 06:01 PM

I'm with Totten. The only thing limiting my output is lack of time. Give me time, and I can always find a subject. And give me more time after that and the ideas will flow like good wine ...

Posted by: Howard Owens at April 10, 2003 06:35 PM

So, rather than analyze the facts and reach a logical conclusion, he starts with the conclusion. It may not be admirable, but at least he's honest about it. And he is working for the Chronicle, which generally seems to adhere to the newly(chortle, chortle) discovered ethos of the CNN Baghdad bureau.

Posted by: RR Ryan at April 11, 2003 02:10 PM

As a San Francisco resident who subscribes to the Chronicle, I am constantly amazed at the poor quality of its columnists. I used to think it was just that the Chronicle hired stupid writers (which they do, have you ever read Ruth Rosen?) but they also seem to ruin good writers like Laurel Wellman. When she was at the SF Weekly, she was head and shoulders the best columnist in the city. Her Dog Bites column was almost always good and sometimes hilarious. Since she has been a Chron writer, her writing has ranged from being mildly OK to being boring. Is there something in the water at 5th and Mission?

Posted by: Larry Levin at April 11, 2003 04:01 PM
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It's like having a homework assignment that is never finished. Free advice for my friends at the Chron: This guy won't run out of things to say! In fact, he could probably write a column twice as interesting for half the price....

Posted by at April 10, 2003 04:18 PM
Comments

Jesus, he thinks two columns a week is hard? I write every day. And the more I write, the more I have to say. I'd love to have the man's job if he can't handle it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 10, 2003 06:01 PM

I'm with Totten. The only thing limiting my output is lack of time. Give me time, and I can always find a subject. And give me more time after that and the ideas will flow like good wine ...

Postedy day. And the more I write, the more I have to say. I'd love to have the man's job if he can't handle it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 10, 2003 06:01 PM

I'm with Totten. The only thing limiting my output is lack of time. Give me time, and I can always find a subject. And give me more time after that and the ideas will flow like good wine ...

Posted by: Howard Owens at April 10, 2003 06:35 PM

So, rather than analyze the facts and reach a logical conclusion, he starts with the conclusion. It may not be admirable, but at least he's honest about it. And he is working for the Chronicle, which generally seems to adhere to the newly(chortle, chortle) discovered ethos of the CNN Baghdad bureau.

Posted by: RR Ryan at April 11, 2003 02:10 PM

As a San Francisco resident who subscribes to the Chronicle, I am constantly amazed at the poor quality of its columnists. I used to think it was just that the Chronicle hired stupid writers (which they do, have you ever read Ruth Rosen?) but they also seem to ruin good writers like Laurel Wellman. When she was at the SF Weekly, she was head and shoulders the best columnist in the city. Her Dog Bites column was almost always good and sometimes hilarious. Since she has been a Chron writer, her writing has ranged from being mildly OK to being boring. Is there something in the water at 5th and Mission?

Posted by: Larry Levin at April 11, 2003 04:01 PM
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