My first piece for Slate magazine went up today. It's about what I consider to be the worrisome growth of for-profit colleges--a corrupt, variable-quality, expensive choice targeted at low-income and minority students with little experience in higher education.
I worked really hard on the piece. My first draft(s) had too much information in it and not enough of an argument, which I struggled to refine; it's not perfectly there yet, I feel like I could write a whole series on the subject. For example, I didn't really go into the way that class issues come to bear on the quality of education offered to people. I have been reading Slate for a long time but I haven't mastered the way their writers give a neat fillip to an argument. It seems you need a provocative thesis or partisan slant or at least amusing writing--preferably all three--to maneuver boring information over the threshold of an increasingly sated and jaded audience. Who knew?