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Monday, May 07, 2007

Lileks Reduced to Writing Straight News (Bumped)

Dashing his hopes and dreams, the StarTribune is squandering the genius that is James. In his own words:
[T]hey've killed my column, and assigned me to write straight local news stories.

Really.

There’s been some talk that I might leverage my mad web skillz into a tech beat, reporting on the Internet. But a local beat about the Internet? How many stories can do you about six guys in a loft coding a hot new start-up? And heaven forbid we have to illustrate them, because then you get the inevitable geek-by-the-screen shot. Look! He’s customizing the drop-down location menu so it defaults to the United States instead of Afghanistan!

I don’t want to write about the Internet. I want to write on the Internet. I’d rather develop content than report about content developers. It’s that simple, and it’s also a matter of recognizing my failings: I am not Biff Deadline, Ace Reporter. I can do long stories with lots of color, all aslosh with subjective opinions, but writing straight news - clearly, simply, briskly - is a skill I lack, and I take off my hat to those who've mastered that discipline.

My column will end a week from this Friday. (There’s a series of pieces I can’t wait to write.) After that, it's just-the-facts-ma'am - and I'll no longer be telecommuting, either. This means I will start burning my share of hydrocarbons like a good American. Hell, I may leave the vehicle running all day outside the building just to make up for lost time. Maybe I will put a green roof on the car to balance things out. Some turf, some switchgrass. It's murder on the paint but we all must do our part.

Would it matter if you contacted the paper? It very well might. Here's the reader's rep's page.

If I can get my column back and / or a nice big Online gig, that would be a satisfactory conclusion. Reporting on internet start-ups as opposed to joining an internet start-up – eh, not so much.
Update:

Hugh Hewitt is as strident as you'd expect, with prophecies that this portends the endtimes for the old media, plus a decent nexus on the topic (here and here).

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