David Brooks’s process for writing each column

by Mr. Sheehy

Brooks writes each column on the day of its deadline. For every column, on his office floor, he creates a pile for each paragraph made up of news clippings, cut-out scans of book pages, and handwritten notes. When he referred in his book to his current assistant, the 28-year-old Lawson, as his “editor,” it wasn’t far from true. After he gives her a draft of his 806-word column (he tries to hit that number on the nose every time), she returns a list of notes that’s often just as long. Brooks’ assistants resemble Supreme Court law clerks: They do significant research, they have hefty roles in writing, and they’re often drawn from the Ivy League.

– Danny Funt, on David Brooks, for Colombia Journalism Review