Because we know that many loyal readers of “I Like [image of pie], Spot!” are interested in the ins and outs of professional journalism, today we proud to announce a Masterclass in How To Write For the Wall Street Journal In Three Easy Steps.
And we’ll even show you how we here at “I Like [image of pie], Spot!” use the principles outlined below to write our very own “2008 Election Horserace” story! So YOU will be part of the process!
Writing a story for the Wall Street Journal is easy! You can do it in three easy steps:
1. Come up with an idea!
Let’s take Amy Chozick’s excellent story “Too Fit to Be President? Facing an Overweight Electorate, Barack Obama Might Find Low Body Fat a Drawback” published on August 1, 2008 in the Wall Street Journal. We don’t know for sure where Amy got the idea (a good reporter never reveals her sources – see the sterling example of Judith Miller), but here’s a guess. Six months ago, Onion.com had this story:
As Obese Population Rises, More Candidates Courting The Fat Vote
In it, a “Fat Voter” identified as Daniel Keezer says: If they're interested in my vote, they'll eat the things that I like to eat.
It is just a short step from there to Amy’s slightly less pedestrian prose: Despite [Obama's] visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.
And kids, there are literally dozens of other Onion.com stories waiting to be ripped off, including “The Beijing Olympics: Are They A Trap?”
2. Troll for quotations by asking leading questions in anonymous online forums!
Sure, that’s not what “Nancy Drew, Reporter!” would have done! But she was writing before the advent of the internets! Take Amy Chozick, who appears to have posted the following message to a Yahoo!groups forum:
Obama too skinny to be president?
15-Jul-08 06:04 pm
Does anyone out there think Barack Obama is too thin to be president? Anyone having a hard time relating to him and his "no excess body fat"? Please let me know. Thanks!
Granted, the only responses she got were critical or sarcastic, but that didn’t stop her from culling a response from one of the latter, and ignoring its inherent idiocy: "I won't vote for any beanpole guy," another Clinton supporter wrote last week on a Yahoo politics message board.
3. Call up McCain hacks, and give them free column inches.
Remember, this is the Wall Street Journal, the paper that predicted on July 7, 2003 that: "There is every reason to believe that the U.S. will eventually defeat this Baathist-terror counterattack, as completely as it did the Republican Guard in April. " Amy Chozick must have had to really try hard to google flunky Rick Davis' choice quotation: In a memo to reporters explaining the ad, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis wrote, "Only celebrities like Barack Obama go to the gym three times a day."
Then you write the story, and you are done for the day. Relax! Have an ice cream sundae! Flip on the tube, and play “Where’s Waldo?” by searching for elusive coverage of the Iraq War. Think about that capital gains tax cut you’re gonna get! Heck, that’s what journalism is all about.
Just for fun, here’s a question we recently posted to the YahooGroups 2008:
Date: Sun Aug 3, 2008 3:37 pm
Subject: Is McCain too 666y to be President?
Alexander's Man of the People (on page 12) reports that John McCain's family nickname is Johnny. Is anyone else worried about the fact that the Book of Revelation tells us to, "Calculate the number of the Beast, for the number is that of a man and his number is 666", and the number of letters in "Johnny Sidney McCain" is 666? Please let me know. Thanks!
An “I Like [image of pie], Spot!” exclusive is sure to follow!