Monday, April 13, 2009; Page C01
If I were trying to maximize my online hits for this column, the headline might be: "Politico Blamed for Decline of Journalism."
But maybe that's a tad too nuanced to draw the Drudge link that would boost my numbers. Perhaps I should go with "Web Site Addicted to Mini-Scoops." Hmm, too polite. How about "Is Politico Pandering?"
In the digital world, success often turns on a quick-click mentality in which an item, tidbit, morsel, video or sexy image is all the bait that's needed. No one, not even august newspapers, is immune.
Politico, the Web operation and newspaper launched more than two years ago by two Washington Post veterans, is actually a smart and substantive site. But in its relentless pursuit of traffic -- not all that different from the networks' relentless pursuit of ratings -- Politico sometimes plays up the novel, the fleeting, the provocative take that briefly titillates but evaporates within hours. And that has some critics accusing the site of dumbing down the art of reporting.