Saturday, April 08, 2006

Shrinking op-ed columns? EEEEK!

Eric Zorn and his blog readers discuss a proposal by David House to have columnists shorten their work to roughly 550 words, instead of the traditional 750-800-ish.

Personally, I've had to work hard to get my stuff down to the 750-word range. The previous editor at Daily Review Atlas* had put up with my rattling on and on to the tune of about 850 words, but more in recent columns I've actually been able to hack and chop a bit more. Still, it's not easy getting clear, clean and concise columns written on many of the day's topics, complex as they are. It's a rare week when I don't start with three separate columns and have to toss two because they'd never come in under a thousand words, no matter how much I edit.

Of course, I do tend to prattle. But with a father who served as a professor and a mother who was an Historical Interpreter and trained same at a famous historical museum, I come by my didacticism honestly. But even "Silent Cal" Coolidge might just have trouble editing some things down for print media.

*whose editors very kindly print my weekly column at no cost to me.

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