Julian Sanchez on the transition:
I haven’t found the columns to date as interesting as I invariably did the Atlantic blog either. No doubt that’s partly that, as Freddie suggests, Ross is in the awkward position of having to reestablish his conservative bona fides in a venue where plenty of people are doubtless combing for cause to brand him a RINO, while simultaneously trying to appeal to the modal Times reader, rather than a self-selecting audience of people who’ve gone out of their way to read his blog. Which is a hell of a tightrope act. Partly I’m sure it’s just matter of a writer needing some time to adapt to a different format. Mostly, though, I suspect it’s that the format itself is something of an atavisma holdover from a superseded information technology.
There’s just a pretty small domain of things to write that (1) will appeal to a general audience, (2) are actually interesting, and (3) both merit and are adequately expressed in 700-800 words without hyperlinks. I’m sure I read plenty of blog posts about that length that are interesting, but they’re often at places like Volokh Conspiracy or Boing Boing, which cater to particular types of reader and wouldn’t necessarily fascinate the Man on the Clapham Omnibus. Stuff of genuinely broad appeal tends to be of the “I had this one neat thought” variety that fits into a paragraph or two, or in-depth stuff that demands feature length. What I’d actually love to see is Ross writing regular essays for the Times Magazine or Esquire or some such.