Write Your Own Blog Post!

This is an at-home exercise only; no need to mail in the results. But here's the set-up:

1) Start with this headline on The Washington Post's site:

RomneyBOnus.png


2) See how you can put this development in context that is not too obvious, but just obvious enough to let people know what you're thinking. The general theme of "bonuses at the top, while ..." could trigger some thoughts.

3) If you're stumped on ways to get started, you could look at extra info in the story from the Post's Dan Eggen, or for numerical guidance turn to FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver, or for historical allusions to Peggy Noonan. Or you could go the other way altogether and remind people that since the first rule of political coverage is "the story always changes," we should be preparing for "Race tightens" / "Campaign strategy kicks in" / "Bonus money well spent" stories next week.

4) Have fun. In the words of the ancients: Give a person a blog item, and you can distract him or her for ten seconds. Teach that person to write blog items, and you can add distractedness forever.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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