Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Advice To The Washington Post

Your Future Is At Stake

We all know that the Post could fail any day. In universe-sized terms: In the blink of an eye. So here's some recommendations for dramatic change:

Positive Steps To Take:

1. Switch to tabloid size. It will take less good stuff, or any stuff, to fill the front page.

2. Put Doonesbury on the front page. Above the fold. Big.

3. Run Dan Zak's stuff on the front page. Assign him to the galactic news beat.

4. Put Carolyn Hax on the front page. Let her do whatever she wants.

Remedial Steps To Take:

5. Dump George Will. The man is still arguing about global warming. Soon he'll be standing on the beach raving at the rising tide. Have nothing to do with him.

6. Get over the "we got the Watergate story thing" and the Pentagon Papers thing. Think of all the stories you missed. Remember WMD's? Tonkin Gulf? Oh, never mind. But show a little modesty.

7. And, yes, I know it's hard working in a newsroom decimated by payroll cuts. But people have been working in more dangerous and short-handed places for years. When somebody makes a mistake in workplaces like that, somebody gets injured or even dies.

Oh, and no need to thank me. I'm happy to help.


  1. Jeff, why are not thousands of folks responding to your writing. I always especially love your personal stuff. Do you need to advertise your blog more? You remember advertising? You are too good to not be read. Why are you not doing at least as well as John Grogan. You could write great stories about Iggy and become rich.

    I have loved reading your stuff, although the more intellectual stuff is a little heavy for me. Write more personal stuff, will you?

    Barb Roberts
    Dayton, OH

  2. Hey, Barb. I love your compassionate self, but you're setting the bar too high. There's probably a million decent writers of Marley & Me type stories out there, but only a few find publishers.
    I am, however, thrilled you asked because it means I get to answer, even if there's only an audience of one to read my response.
    Here's some of what I think about the questions you raise:
    Yes, I remember advertising, but with very little longing for that particular past.
    But while we're reminding each other of things--she was Idgie, like in Idgie Threadgood of Fried Green Tomatoes fame. I do have some Idgie stories in me, and they could come out.
    I think I've always wanted to be rich, but it's also seemed to be both too difficult a project to focus on and too chancy an outcome to be worth the risk.
    Then there's this question: Why write at all?
    Sometimes, I don't care if anybody reads me, the act of writing is hugely satisfying. Sometimes, I'm desperate for an audience and I'll do anything that doesn't include sustained effort to build one.
    Marrianne says I ought to work at it a little harder, but that's easy for her to say. She likes to work.
    Sometimes the more intellectual stuff is a little heavy for me, too, but then I realize it's just boring. At times like that, I occasionally ask myself, how do I get better at this?