Is The Wapo Clinically Depressed?

by Michelle Cottle | August 17, 2009

In general, I don't like to pile on when people gloat about the tough times being endured by the news business broadly or, more specifically, about what some of my journalistic colleagues regard as the panicked death spiral in which the WaPo is currently stuck. But this morning my hometown paper all but dared me to join in.

Today's "Style" section features (yet another) piece by media reporter Howie Kurtz about the death of the newspaper business--the bulk of which ran next to an short, utterly inexplicable piece by the white female novelist Lynn Harris writing about how she is often mistaken for the (now deceased) more successful black gay male writer E. Lynn Harris. The piece isn't funny (though I think it was meant to be). It's not stylishly written, insightful, or based on a fresh idea. It has no surprising twist. I even tried approaching it from a boring news (versus a sassy "Style"-ish) perspective, but it doesn't aim to tell us anything about anything, such as the perils of mistaken identity in the online era. It is, by and large, pointless--except perhaps as an illustration of why newspapers are becoming obsolete. 

It's like they've given up over there.

--Michelle Cottle 

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