The Trouble with Spikol

The pressure's on the few remaining newspaper columns.

By Liz Spikol
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 27, 2008

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Back when newspapers were healthy and there was other content to choose from, readers could tolerate the chaff. But now editors have to take a hard look.

Columnists need to take responsibility too. If editors, forced to work harder with fewer resources, are unable to put pressure on their columnists, the writers need to put it on themselves. It's owed to readers, who are fast becoming accustomed to accepting mediocrity.

Readers shouldn't have to lower their standards, whether they live in New York or Philadelphia. Why shouldn't the Inquirer's column standards be high? Why shouldn't editor Bill Marimow demand excellence?

New columnists can take a while to find themselves. At the Inquirer, Mark Bowden is still trying to get the right tone, but covers serious issues pertinent to national and local concerns.

Scottoline found her groove all too easily.

Last week Faye Flam, the Inquirer's sex columnist, departed. What will replace her? Another Scottoline, or someone like Maureen Dowd?

Given the lukewarm reviews of Lady Killer, maybe Lisa Scottoline can take a break from novel-writing and do some reporting for her column. She could write about something that matters. That would make for a surprise ending.


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