not to local, elected officials, but bynresorting to the courts, often federalncourts. In the not-so-distant past itnwould have been clear that the courtsnhad no jurisdiction here. If members ofnthe Kentucky ACLU are horrified atnthe misuse of their state tax dollars, letnthem collect signatures and petitionnthe governor. But if we permit thencourts to continue to meddle in everynaspect of state and local business, wenundermine the very basis of selfgovernment.n(KD)nT H E WASHINGTON POST isnbest known outside the newspapernbusiness for the investigative reportingnof Woodward and Bernstein — not tonmention Janet Cooke. But in the longnrun, the Post’s most enduring achievementnis that it pioneered the modernnnewspaper feature section.nUntil the late 1960’s, most featuresnsections were called “women’s pages,”nbut when Post management introducedn”Style” to its readers in 1969,nthe paper did more than change a title;nit actually introduced the techniques ofnthe “New Journalism” to a daily newspapernaudience. Instead of simply coveringntrends in fashion or society. Postnreaders were treated to first-person adventuresnand profiles of the rich, famous,nand powerful.nThe “Style” formula proved so successfulnthat other major dailies graduallynchanged their women’s pages to thenPost’s model. Today, feature editorsnnationally recognize the Post as primusninter pares. “Style,” for example, routinelynwins many awards at the annualncompetition for feature writing sponsorednby the University of Missouri’snjournalism school. And most dailiesnstill derive most of their form andncontent from the ideas first developednin the “Style” section.nBut in the 1980’s, “Style” has lostnits way. Most of the Post’s better featurenwriters have left, lured by bookndeals, Hollywood, and at least onensyndicated column (Judith Martin,notherwise known as “Miss Manners”).nBut the crisis in “Style” is more thannthe need to replace writers. By nowneven the Post’s editors have realizednthey are facing a deeper problem:ntrivialization. At the recent winter retreatn(known as “Pugwash”), seniornPost editors analyzed the “Style” sec­ntion. The report, reprinted in Washington’snCity Paper, is not flattering.nAccording to the Pugwash document,nseveral times a week top “Style”neditors review two lists. One list consistsnof forthcoming films, televisionnshows, plays, and parties; the secondnlist consists of “celebrities who havenbeen ‘offered’ to the Post for interviews.”nPeople or events on the list arenassigned or rejected; what survives usuallynbecomes the subject of a Postnarticle. As a result, most “Style”narticles are either “mega-event” storiesnreported by most media outlets (anpresidential inauguration, a summitnconference), or profiles and interviews.nIn 1988, the Post published 165nlengthy profiles. Of these, 90 werenpieces “about people with somethingnto sell” — actors, authors, painters,nmusicians. In 1988, “Style” writersnonly profiled one educator, one reli­n’-‘ —••^^-ff^^”‘^ I’/if’^^^-.’ i^^^ rnS*ERIE5 OF 5WSnnngious leader, two scientists (one ofnwhom was hawking a book), and twonbusinessmen.nThe Pugwash report closed with anlist of story ideas for “Style” reportersnto pursue. Among them was a plea forn”Style” to produce more stories aboutn”interesting developments” in “sociology,npsychology, politics, science, familynlife, sex, religion, letters, education.”n”Why does Style so rarely writenabout the world of ideas and the peoplenwho have them?” one reporter askednthe Post panel.nThe answer has two parts. Manynjournalists are afraid of people in “thenworld of ideas.” For many journalists,nideas are homework, and homework isnsomething to be avoided — the onlynlesson many journalists learned in college.n”Style” editors, one “Style” writerntold the panel, “all read the samenthings: Time, Newsweek, People, Roll-nMAY 1989/7n