Goodbye to all that

On a tenure at 'The Week'

Turning a page.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

In this age of the internet, the purpose of the opinion column isn't clear. Columnists have never been expected to break stories and the speed of transmission on social media makes that even harder. Opinion journalists' former roles as professional aggregators and critics have been appropriated by legions of amateurs, whose blogs, tweets, and newsletters can display insight and expertise that put professionals to shame. For business reasons as well as political ones, finally, legacy media have increasingly abandoned the ideal of objectivity for "news analysis" that blends traditional reporting with commentary and sometimes outright advocacy. When everyone's a columnist, why should anyone be a columnist?

I thought a lot about that question when I accepted a part-time position with The Week almost a year ago. Part of the answer was material self-interest. If The Week wanted to pay me to expound my opinions, I wasn't about to decline — even though I sometimes doubted their value. It helped that I have an inordinate number of opinions, so publishing several pieces each week didn't frighten me.

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Samuel Goldman

Samuel Goldman is a national correspondent at He is also an associate professor of political science at George Washington University, where he is executive director of the John L. Loeb, Jr. Institute for Religious Freedom and director of the Politics & Values Program. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard and was a postdoctoral fellow in Religion, Ethics, & Politics at Princeton University. His books include God's Country: Christian Zionism in America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) and After Nationalism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021). In addition to academic research, Goldman's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.