Given his smarts and current megaphone, I wish he’d stand up and holler, “We Americans are paying twice as much for healthcare as taxpayers in other countries, yet we tolerate poorer outcomes, and leave millions uninsured. How can we be so dumb?”

Harriette Seiler
Louisville, KY

I have been reading Ezra Klein, Daily Kos, and Andrew Sullivan for years. Not because I always agree with them, but because I thought they were the ones making the best arguments. They seemed to care about facts and used them to create their arguments. When history, facts, or conventional wisdom was against them, they dealt with that honestly and tried to give you multiple sides of the argument. I agreed with Klein that, politically, a single-payer option was not going to happen, but I think Klein’s big fault was in making the single-pager option too easy for Republicans to deal away without incurring a political cost. Consumers should be able to choose a public option.

Colleen Mahaney
Roswell, GA


Notes from our online readers

In September, Ann Friedman wrote her weekly #realtalk advice column about becoming a successful freelancer, suggesting that aspirants amass clips by writing for free for websites (their own and others). Readers took issue:

The only place you should ever write for free is your own site, never for anyone else. I am extremely disappointed that CJR would promote such an idea, and while Ms. Friedman is a fine journalist, I am equally disappointed that CJR has someone in the “midst of her own freelance experiment” offering advice to freelancers. No veteran freelancer would ever tell someone to write for free. Freelancing is not a game. It’s a business. It should be treated as such, which means getting paid for your work, not giving it away. —Jen A. Miller

While I don’t know Ann Friedman, I do know a LOT of extremely successful freelancers. Perhaps asking them to write a column on how to freelance would have been a wiser choice. . . . Writing for free and sending out those links is basically going to get you nowhere. No editors worth their salt are impressed that you posted an item on your blog or wrote something for a content mill for $10. —Susan Ladika

Friedman responded:

Do I wish even very inexperienced writers could get paid for every single thing they write that’s not on their personal website? Yes. But this column isn’t called #hopeanddreamstalk, it’s called #realtalk.

Arthur O. Sulzberger, 1926-2012

The New York Times publisher’s many achievements have been well lauded, so here’s a look at his beginnings, courtesy of Gay Talese (The Kingdom and the Power, 1969):

The new publisher was a friendly, unostentatious young man who had curly, dark hair, smoked a pipe, wore Paul Stuart suits, and always said hello to whoever was in the elevator. If he bore any physical resemblance to his distinguished-looking father, it was not obvious to those in the newsroom: He seemed more an Ochs than a Sulzberger. He had his mother’s dark, penetrating eyes, and he had Adolph Ochs’s large-lobed ears that turned up at the bottom. He was of average height, square-shouldered and solidly built, yet lean enough to fit into the Marine Corps uniform that he had worn more than a decade ago, and his hair was sufficiently close-cropped to pass almost any military inspection. There was no regimental quality about him, however, not even a trace of rigidity, and in this sense he was unlike the publishers who had preceded him. Adolph Ochs had been a model of formality, a starched figure most comfortable at a distance, a self-made man of Victorian presence who rarely lowered his guard in public. While Arthur Hays Sulzberger and Orvil Dryfoos were more mellow and genteel, they were nearly always pressured by the tight strings of the title that they had acquired through marriage. Punch Sulzberger was different—he had been born to the title, he had grown up within The Times, had skipped through its corridors as a child. He was never awed by the great editors that he met there, for they had always smiled at him, seemed happy to see him, treated him like a little prince in a palace, and he developed early in life a sunny, amiable disposition.

Corrections

In our chart “What’s the best model for digital news business?” (September/October), in which we compare the fates of three news startups (the Chicago News Cooperative, the Bay Citizen, and the Texas Tribune), we mistakenly attributed a quote dismissing the Texas Tribune as “inside baseball” to Texas Monthly. In fact, the quote came from the Texas Observer. Texas Monthly actually has a partnership with the Texas Tribune.

The Editors