Journalism is a tough business

Slate has apparently laid off several outstanding journalists, including Timothy Noah. One of the best journalists out there, Tim did a great job covering health care reform. His award-winning series on inequality provides only one reason to eagerly await his next gig.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

5 thoughts on “Journalism is a tough business”

  1. And Jack Shafer, one of the few good press critics out there. He was somebody who was not afraid of p*ssing off fellow journalists.

    Slate has clearly made its choice here – they’re following in the footsteps of Michael ‘Even the Liberal New Republic’ Kinsley. He had a glorious opportunity care of Bill Gates to build the first big web-only magazine, and chose fraudulent contrarianism and ‘split the difference’ foolishness. Or course the contrarianism was always tacking to the right, and counting oneself brave for sucking up to the powers that be, and splitting the difference was only applied when the right was loony (I don’t recall them doing it with a sensible right-wing position and a loony leftist position).

  2. Heh. I remember actually being a “paid subscriber” to Slate back in Kinsley’s day. Except for Dahlia Lithwick I haven’t had much reason to pay attention lately. Too bad for those good, solid professionals. I hope they land on their feet. And if this resonates in the Village even a little bit, all the better. Welcome to our world, guys! Now, try not to be a parasite. Find a job!

  3. Well, for one thing, the Post is terrible at running websites. I basically never click through on anything Ezra Klein writes because it takes *forever.* I want them to make money on ads, of course, but please do it quickly.

    The Post also ruined the Fray on Slate when they took it over. People used to have actual debates on it, which you can’t really do in regular comments with that many people chiming in.

    I also noticed that the quality has been variable, and it was too right-wingy at times. But on the other hand, you could still read some really smart people there. Bethany McLean, Spitzer, and many of the regulars are still excellent.

    I don’t see how getting rid of these particular folks is going to fix anything. This is not a good sign.

    Off the topic, I am still a huge Kinsley fan. There’s no one better. I’m not ready to say he’s George Orwell, but he has been a great champion of the underdog many times.

  4. KLG: “And if this resonates in the Village even a little bit, all the better. Welcome to our world, guys! Now, try not to be a parasite. Find a job!”

    I don’t think that either of these guys was a Villager – that’s why they were the ones laid off, rather than somebody like Saletan.

    As for resonance, the only resonance I foresee is some reporters realizing that not toeing the Village line is a prime career killer.

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