June 17, 2002
11:19 AM   Subscribe

In 1997, Scott Shuger created for Slate.com what would quickly become the wildly popular column "Today's Papers." The column was innovative in its brief and snarky discussions about that day's headlines on all the major news dailies. The differences between each paper's choice of stories covered, and the variances from paper to paper in their coverage of those same stories was illustrative in a fashion we now take for granted around here on MeFi. Shuger died suddenly over the weekend in a scuba mishap and is remembered here by his colleagues at slate.com.
posted by BentPenguin (8 comments total)
touching, and he will be missed, i'm sure.

on a snarky note, it would have been even more touching without the giant flash interstitial ad i got.
posted by o2b at 11:33 AM on June 17, 2002

No shit...that giant ass Qwest ad kinda takes the somber tone right out of article. Man, ads are becomming more and more intrusive.
posted by dangerman at 11:37 AM on June 17, 2002

Today's Papers was the only reason I ever read slate, and why I even subscribed back in the day. It was innovative, amusing, and made it possible to keep up with all the news. He'll be missed.
posted by mathowie at 11:37 AM on June 17, 2002

What sad news. 50 is young. Shuger had such a light touch, too, poking at the papers without being overly snide. He was always a pleasure to read. Seems to me that any history of media consciousness on the 'Net has to put Today's Papers up there with Romenesko and Drudge; they all played key roles in helping bring about a new, more widespread awareness of how the news business works.
posted by mediareport at 12:29 PM on June 17, 2002

Mathowie, I'd be interested whether your use of the past tense is because you don't read his successors on that column? I think they're every bit as good.

As the piece noted, though, Shuger pretty much invented this extremely useful genre and its conventions, and deserves all the tribute offered. Unrelated: Anybody else catch this poignant aside in the linked article (by Parkinsons' patient Michael Kinsley):

[Shuger] treasured his good health and mental acuity and would have disliked watching them slip away even more than most of us will.
posted by luser at 1:39 PM on June 17, 2002

I blogged Shuger's passing as well, but in the tribute, Slate finally included something that should be on its home page -- a link that always takes you to the current edition of Today's Papers. I have no idea why something simple like "http://www.slate.com/todayspapers/" doesn't work, other than it's Microsoft. It's worth bookmarking for the tone Shuger set and that, hopefully, Eric Umansky will continue to maintain.
posted by mdeatherage at 8:03 PM on June 17, 2002

Damn sad. Like Matt I actually ponied up cold cash for a subscription--before that was de rigeur--just to get today's paper's. (i recall getting a very large and ugly "SLATE" umbrella as a gift with my subscription) Shuger's column was such a breath of fresh air and really seemed to foreshadow the arrival of blogs with their condensed, opinionated digestion of the world at large. And checking out at 50 . . . like a party invitation I received today noted "This will be a Potluck . . . just like life."
posted by donovan at 8:26 PM on June 17, 2002

A few major papers also ran some obits:

LA Times
Washington Post
New York Times
posted by mattpfeff at 9:15 AM on June 18, 2002

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