Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Blankley to Editorial Writers: Sharpen Up!

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Blankley to Editorial Writers: Sharpen Up!

Article excerpt

As he leaves his five-year post as editorial page editor of The Washington Times, Tony Blankley has some advice for his fellow opinion page guardians: Sharpen up!

Blankley, who announced Tuesday he would step down to join the Edelman public relations firm, and take a post with the Heritage Foundation, opined on the state of most editorial writing, finding it not always up to par.

"In some newspapers, the writing style is fairly distinct," he told E&P. "It would probably be fair to say that an awful lot of editorial writing tends to be a little fudgy, and not quite as sharp as it could be. There is room for clarity and vigor in a lot of pages."

Declining to cite specific newspapers in his critique, Blankley, a former Reagan speechwriter and press secretary to Next Gingrich, praised The Wall Street Journal. But he said most papers could use some sharpening up in writing style and getting to the point.

"I think that they have become more pompous and highly educated in the last 10 to 15 years," he said of editorial writers. "It may reflect the background of journalism, which has become less of a trade and more of a highly-educated profession. Leading journalists tend to be highly educated. Journalism was strongest when it was a trade and they came from blue collar levels. The danger of a strong academic background is that our writing becomes academic."

Although he acknowledged his strong educational background, which includes a law degree and certificates in international studies from Notre Dame and the University of London, Blankley contends editorial writing could use a boost with more of a voice of the people. …

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