Get Off My Lawn

Gawker did some research – well, maybe a spreadsheet – and concludes that the opinion writers of our mainstream media are largely a bunch of cranky old men, and a few cranky old women.

What’s Wrong With America’s Newspaper Opinion Columnists in One Chart

Why are newspaper opinion columnists so consistently baffled by the politics, technologies, and social mores of the 21st century? We’ve crunched some data, and we think we’ve figured out the answer: They’re old as hell. …

We examined age and gender breakdowns of the regular opinion columnists at the country’s three most prestigious opinion sections—those of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal—as well as the opinion stables from four of the largest press syndicates—The Creators Syndicate, Universal Press, King Features, and Tribune Media, …

Of the 143 columnists we looked at, a scant 38 were women. Just as bad was the age distribution: Average and median ages on the whole hover around 60. Tribune Media Services had the oldest columnists: average and median ages are both around 64. The businessy Wall Street Journal, whose average columnist is a sprightly 56 years old (median 54), is the most youthful—although that’s still older than the paper’s average 48-year-old reader.

As an aging and increasingly cranky man, I find this encouraging news. In just a year I’ll be the perfect age to pull columns out of my navel, or wherever, and have the Grey Lady post them for the great unwashed to read and ponder.

It would be interesting to look back and see if there were any times in history when the sanctioned opinion-makers were not older men. I would guess that younger people have a greater voice during major revolutions and upheavals, but I’d also guess that doesn’t last too long.

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3 responses to “Get Off My Lawn”

  1. cmaukonen says :

    Eric Sevareid was in his late 50s when he did commentary on CBS news.

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    • Donal says :

      And Scotty Reston was around 36 when he won his first Pulitzer. But was he an outlier, or was there a time when mostly young men issued the opinions?

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      • cmaukonen says :

        I don’t thing age has that much – if any thing – to do with wisdom. Which our current crop seems to lack. [You notice I did not refere to them as journalists]

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