I thought I had stumbled into my path to column-izing when I started writing a weekly essay for the newest
Washington, D.C. newspaper about a year-and-a-half ago.
"Write about whatever topics
you want," said the then-editor-in-chief when I questioned him numerous times about the topics he might be interested in. It worked for a while -- a newspaper with no following yet, no real identity. But as things unfolded and editors came and went, my writing saw fewer pages in newsprint. I queried, I questioned. "You have a great style and write well," said one editor. But they were starting to get more people from think tanks and other political organizations who wanted to write, and so, less space was available for a good writer without a "platform
I've learned the hard way that today, platform
is WAY more important than the ability to write well or talk about intriguing topics. My weekly essays turned into bi-weekly, then monthly. "Thanks, but we don't have space. Good luck placing your column elsewhere," was the increasing response.
I am thankful for the opportunity I had, even though it was short-lived. The original editor-in-chief is gone, as is the original editorial page editor
. Plus, the political landscape has become more clear -- I'm probably way too liberal a voice even for a conservative newspaper that needed to have a token left-winger.
I wrangled a meeting with the new editor-in-chief, but the new editorial page editor hasn't returned my attempts at contact. I haven't given up yet, but the question is, when should I?
On my fridge, I have a quote from Aaron Brown
, late of NewsNight on CNN. It took him five years to convince a news director in Seattle that he should hire him to do some menial job in the newsroom, just to get a foot in the door. Even though Brown is currently 'without prtfolio,' he's a newsman's newsman. He didn't give up and made it to the top. Thanks for the example, Aaron. I'm going to stick with it, too.