The AJC is holding a contest to find a conservative columnist. It’s an odd way to hire a staffer. But maybe this makes sense.
– Once Jim Wooten starts to fade away, there will be no more skilled conservative writers left on the staff of the AJC. The purges of the last few years have eliminated any likely candidates. Not a single qualified conservative writer left? Yow.
– The new columnist will actually be on the staff of the AJC, according to its online criteria form. One often saw Jim Wooten and Jay Bookman stalking the legislature for material. The new guy / gal will do the same thing, and will have a seat on the AJC editorial board.
– Desperate for a hint of excitement surrounding a newspaper that has largely become a day-late reprint of the New York Times, the AJC sees its contest as a way to engage its increasingly skeptical readership. Can an American Idol -style contest produce the next George F. Will? Why not, right?
It’s worth noting that the online criteria form says that it’s “preferred” that the winning candidate have a bachelor degree eg. a college education. Perhaps this is the wave of the future, and a nod to the past: Walter Cronkite never graduated from college. Neither did Ralph McGill. The online criteria also says nothing about having a background in journalism. Opinionmongers like Limbaugh and Boortz, we’re sure, would say: Who needs that?