You've got an opinion,
but do you have what it takes to be heard? 

This is a contest aimed at people who have read a column in a newspaper or watched a talking head on TV and thought: "Hey, I could do that." It's for people who may already regularly voice their opinions -- but wouldn't mind a bigger audience. It's for people who want to have an impact on the national debate.

The entries.
Approximately 4,800 contestants have entered, each sending a short opinion piece and bio. Now that the entry period is over, Post editors are sifting through those submissions -- with an eye toward style, intelligence and freshness of argument. So far, we can say that we're impressed with the range: We received entries from all 50 states and D.C.; from students in their late teens and from retirees in their 80s; from people boasting Washington insider knowledge and people claiming to represent average Americans; from devoted Democrats and die-hard Republicans and all political perspectives in between.

The challenges.
Beginning on or about Oct. 30, ten prospective pundits will get to compete for the title of America's Next Great Pundit, facing off in challenges that test the skills a modern pundit must possess. They'll have to write on deadline, hold their own on video and field questions from Post readers. After each round, a panel of Post personalities will offer kudos and catcalls, and reader votes will help to determine who gets another chance at a byline and who has to shut down his or her laptop.

The prize.
The ultimate winner, to be announced on or around Nov. 24, will get the opportunity to write a weekly column that may appear in the print and/or online editions of The Washington Post, paid at a rate of $200 per column, for a total of 13 weeks and $2,600. Our Opinions lineup includes a dozen Pulitzer Prize winners, regulars on the national political talk shows and some of the most influential players inside the Beltway. We’ll set our promising pundit on a path to become the next byline in demand, the talking head every show wants to book, the voice that helps the country figure out what’s really going on.

Stay tuned.

No purchase necessary. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C. who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Contest entry period begins at 12:01 a.m. ET on 9/29/09 and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on 10/21/09. Limit one entry per person. Void where prohibited. Subject to complete Official Rules.
Questions? E-mail pundit@washingtonpost.com

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