Pundit Contest Would Have Gone Down Better with a Spoonful of Psychology

I've been following "America's Next Great Pundit Contest" over at the Washington Post. I love the idea. Once upon a time there were well-worn paths to the top of the press pile. The Post's contest, though, is based on the populist premise that smart, engaging, well-informed voices could come from just about anywhere.

I even like all the challenges the wannabe pundits have had to face. They've been required to write opinion pieces and blog posts, to name and begin a regular feature, and to engage with a topic that is beyond their comfort zone. Anyone can go to the Post website, read all the entries in each round, and vote for their favorite pundit. Bravo!

There's another part to the process. At the end of each round, before the voting is opened up to the public, a panel of Post reporters and bloggers critique the submissions of all of the candidates and announce their winner for the round. So what's wrong with that? (Continue reading here.)