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Who wants to be a Washington Post pundit?

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 29, 2009 11:52 AM

Looks like shark-jumping season at the Washington Post. The PR team has just launched a contest for “America’s Next Great Pundit.”

Really.

Just arrived in my e-mailbox:

Aspiring pundits across the country have the chance to be “America’s Next Great Pundit” by entering The Washington Post’s political columnist competition.

Starting today The Washington Post opinions section is asking people around the country to tell us why they deserve to publish their opinions in The Washington Post and be the next Dana Milbank or Eugene Robinson. Ten contestants will be picked from among all the entrants, and then the field will by narrowed down by rounds of challenges testing the skills a modern pundit must possess. They’ll have to write on deadline, hold their own on video, and field questions from Post readers. After each round, a panel of Post personalities and reader votes will help determine who gets another chance at a byline and who has to shut down their laptop. The ultimate winner will get the opportunity to write a 13-week column that may appear in the print and/or online editions of The Washington Post.

Follow the competition or launch your career by entering online at www.washingtonpost.com/pundit.

The prizes?

The ultimate winner will get the opportunity to write a weekly column that may appear in the print and/or online editions of The Washington Post, paid at a rate of $200 per column, for a total of 13 weeks and $2,600. Our Opinions lineup includes a dozen Pulitzer Prize winners, regulars on the national political talk shows and some of the most influential players inside the Beltway. We’ll set our promising pundit on a path to become the next byline in demand, the talking head every show wants to book, the voice that helps the country figure out what’s really going on.

So what are you waiting for?

Fifteen years ago, this might have been an enticing idea for “aspiring pundits.”

Now, the barriers to entry into the opinion journalism market are zero. Gatekeepers have been rendered obsolete by blogs, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. And the allure of a “mainstream” media affiliation has fallen exponentially in value.

Who wants to be “the next Dana Milbank or Eugene Robinson?”

My prediction: Not many.

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