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JOHN CLOUD’S BLAST AT Ruth Shalit (“Baby Ruth,” 10/20) could be summarized in three words: Omigod, she’s 25! But what law of journalism bans people under 30 from being good writers? Shalit’s writing certainly has its problems; her formidable storytelling ability is not matched by her skill at basic journalistic techniques. But she is an important writer, and mindlessly attacking her because of her youth is a cheap shot.

Young writers should not be content to spend years covering school board meetings or chasing fire trucks. They should aim for the fences, question authority, and raise hell. We need more Ruth Shalits in journalism and fewer middle-aged whiners. Shalit’s success offers an inspiring example to twentysomething writers trapped in boring beats, or glorified interns.

Silver Spring, Md.