Update: On May 18, Richard Thomas wrote that his congressional voting feature has in fact ceased publication.
The heart of a good newspaper is local news, which is reported and edited by people who work for the paper. Daily papers also use wire news, which are the regional, national and international stories distributed by organizations including the Associated Press, Reuters and Tribune News Service, formerly McClatchy-Tribune.
A third major chunk of newspaper content comes from the syndicates. These are not the kinds of syndicates you would see in my friend Lou Brancaccio’s favorite movie, “The Godfather.” No, these are companies that connect individual content creators with newspapers, sort of like a professional athlete might employ a business agent.
At The Columbian, we buy a lot of things from syndicates, including comics, editorial cartoons, opinion columns, crossword puzzles, horoscopes, the TV listings grid and the ever-popular Aces on Bridge, which Merridee Hanson and I tried to cancel one time and found out just how many folks read it religiously.
A couple of items involving syndicated content crossed my desk this week, so I thought I would share them. First, I had yet another person ask why we dropped Malcolm Berko’s personal finance column. The answer is that Berko died in June 2019, and his columns contained timely stock tips and are thus not eligible to rerun. Our readers still miss his bombastic “Tell-it-as-I-see-it” style of writing, although I thought he sometimes went overboard. I also wasn’t a fan of syndicated commentator Thomas Sowell, who retired in 2016, although I still get questions about him a few times per year.