WaPo’s Pundit Contest

In the middle of reading, writing, grad school, work, family and trying to maintain some sort of social life, I missed the deadline to compete to be America’s Next Great Pundit, per the Washington Post contest. I have something to say dammit!

I have to be honest, I love the idea of contests. In 2008, I won a journalism contests that took me to the DNC and the inauguration.

I had a blast and thought it was just an amazing opportunity. That’s me at Invesco Field.

When I heard that the Washington Post was doing a pundit contest, I thought, WOW! How great is that?! You openly compete with other opinion writers and have the opportunity to actually become a weekly writer for either their print or online editions!

Because, come on, lets face it, when you submit your work to an open newspaper job, we are all expecting a call back right?! we already know its a big competition anyways. Why not make it entertaining?
Does that diminish the credibility of the job? the paper? the person? Is it all about entertainment?
Too late to ask those questions.
We are already there.
Our society expects entertainment.

Here are the rules:
The entries.
Approximately 4,800 contestants have entered, each sending a short opinion piece and bio.
The challenges.
Beginning on or about Oct. 30, ten prospective pundits will get to compete for the title of America’s Next Great Pundit, they’ll have to write on deadline, hold their own on video and field questions from Post readers.
The prize.
The ultimate winner, to be announced on or around Nov. 24, will get the opportunity to write a weekly column that may appear in the print and/or online editions of The Washington Post, paid at a rate of $200 per column, for a total of 13 weeks and $2,600.

I wonder, how many journalists found this demeaning less than credible? To have to openly compete for a job in a time where reporters and commentators are being let go?
I imagine that with the open competition, WaPo plans on creating a buzz, a following for its new pundits, generating perhaps new readers, maybe even a younger crowd.

I don’t read the Washington Post, not sure why… My news comes from The Huffington Post and John Stewart, places where I feel like I am a part of something.
Maybe, if they do this contest right and new voices are offered, then I may just have to start reading.
And if the objective was to get me, the HuffPo, Daily Show, Twitter, Facebook 25-35, female, then maybe, its a mission accomplished.

*This post was written for a USC course on Entrepreneurship in New Media Oct. 27, 2009

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