The Washington Post Pundit Contest: A Close Reading
[I NEED SOME KIND OF BRIEF INTRO HERE…]
Start making your case. 
Use the entry form to send us a short opinion essay 
(400 words or less) pegged to a topic in the news  and an additional paragraph (100 words or less) on yourself and why you should win. Entries will be judged on the basis of style, intelligence and freshness of argument , but not on whether Post editors agree or disagree with your point of view . Entry deadline: Oct. 21, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Then get ready for the great debate.
Beginning on or about Oct. 30, ten prospective pundits will get to compete for the title of America’s Next Great Pundit, facing off in challenges that test 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. (Contestants won’t have to quit their day jobs, but they should be prepared to put in about eight hours a week for three weeks.) After each round, a panel of Post personalities will offer kudos and catcalls , and reader votes will help to determine  who gets another chance at a byline and who has to shut down their laptop .
Eyes on the prize.
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?