Columnists: Zealots of the Middle

At first glance, they seem an unlikely combination. Slim, suave, well-tailored Rowland Evans, 45, is the very model of a cosmopolitan correspondent. Swarthy, slangy, excitable Robert Novak, 35, often acts like a Chicago police reporter. Yet professionally, the two men complement each other perfectly; they have merged their talents in a joint political column, "Inside Report," that has a faster-growing readership than any of its competitors. Begun in 1963 with only 35 clients, "Inside Report" is now carried by 135 newspapers.

In an era when the press is surfeited with armchair experts,...

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