I continue to get email from folks who don’t like one or the other or who don’t know there’s a difference. Yesterday’s G-File on “No Child Left Behind” received a bunch of mail from folks who really don’t like the syndicated column style and who said essentially “good to see your rut is over.” Other emailers complained about the glibness and the self-indulgence.
Here’s the deal: you simply cannot write a national syndicated column the way G-File is done. Most newspaper columns are about 700-750 words, some are cut even shorter.There’s no room to mention the couch, get distracted by movie quotes etc. Also, you have to assume that most newspaper readers have no idea who you are and so all of your running jokes have to be explained. It’s just a different beast. This doesn’t mean that the syndicated column needs to be emasculated, dumbed-down, or dull — like, say, Leonardo DiCaprio — it’s simply a different style. In fact, there are many ways in which the syndicated column is superior, it’s just that some of the G-File vets who hang out around here are looking for something different.
What may be confusing some folks is that NRO has been running both G-Files and syndicated columns. We’ve tried to make it clear which is which, but I don’t think a lot of folks look at the fine print. Regardless, here are few hints. I don’t believe the Couch has ever been mentioned in syndicated column (“Yer darn right!” — the Couch). The syndicated column will never go longer than 850 words and is usually much shorter. The first paragraph will pretty much always tell you what the column is about whereas the topic of the G-File often arrives like an afterthought halfway through. Oh, and at the end of the syndicated column there will always be a copyright for Tribune Media Services.