The barriers to entry into the opinion journalism market are zero. Gatekeepers have been rendered obsolete by blogs, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. And the allure of a “mainstream” media affiliation has fallen exponentially in value.
Malkin is right about the nonexistent barriers to entry, but I disagree with her underlying point. The Post has a huge audience, and I suspect that many bloggers, not to mention aspiring journalists, will jump at the chance to have their work seen by the readership of a paper the size of the Post, even when it is in decline.
Remember, too, that more liberals than conservatives want to be journalists. Contestants also aren’t competing for a long-term job at the Post, but a baker’s dozen of clips from there might boost the winner’s chances of landing a job in a tight and transforming media market.
The bad news: Bright, young conservatives need not apply. The Post has a habit of hiring up-and-coming liberal pundits. Odds are good that the contest is aimed directly at that market.
If readers alone were to pick the winner, a conservative writer with a strong social network might stand a chance. But you can bet that the “panel of Post personalities” won’t include more than token conservatives, and the panel will be the final arbiter.
A conservative has about as much chance of winning a contest to be the The Washington Post’s next pundit as he or she does of becoming the “Opinion Media Monitor” (aka, “Secret Agent Editor“) at The New York Times.