Jack Shafer prepares for the coming deluge of year-end lists:
With few exceptions (and I can’t think of any!) best-of lists and year-in-review articles exist to fill the greatest number of pages with the least amount of effort. Filling the greatest number of pages with the least amount of effort is a pretty good definition of journalism. But at holiday time, two forces conspire to force journalists to fill an even greater number of pages in a very limited time: 1) ad pages from merchants pushing Christmas goods can double the size (if not the editorial hole) of a paper; 2) simultaneously, staffers beg for time off to travel during the holidays — and some even help themselves to unauthorized time, sneaking in late and leaving early.