Andrew Sullivan’s Alter Ego
Scott Payne has an extensive interview with Patrick Appel, who, we have recently learned, is much more than Andrew Sullivan’s assistant. Along with Chris Bodenner, Patrick does most of the pick-and-shovel work of blogging, reading through hundreds of blog posts, articles, and reader submissions and even writing up draft posts for Andrew to edit and publish under his own byline.
While this revelation has been controversial, it’s actually a brilliant model for blogging. I spend most of my day doing what Patrick and Chris do and much less time than I’d like actually writing and analyzing the things I find. Most days, I identify several topics that I never get around to writing about because I just don’t have the time and energy.
More transparency about the process would have been better, of course, but knowing how the sausage is made at the Daily Dish doesn’t make the blog any less interesting. Andrew is a writer-editor rather than a pure writer but the end product is still his.
Which makes it all the more noteworthy how little actual writing there is. A good 90% of the content is blockqoutes, as all he seems to do any more is quote others and add a line or two of why he is publishing the excerpt. Not uncommonly, his contribution is limited to a mere, “A writer said.”
That’s cool–if you want, I’ll do all of the leg work for you from now on.
That’d be sweet!
I’m honestly not even sure how to farm the work out, though. Maybe half of my posts are just passing along something I found interesting and adding some commentary. Most of what I do, though, is make connections and spot trends (however tangential) in posts I’ve skimmed and tie them together.
But the current model hasn’t been working as well as I’d like for a while. I feel like I’m working more and writing less these days.
It might be an interesting exercise to see how much you can get done in India or the Philippines. That would almost seem more ethical to me than the intern route.