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In the Newsroom

CQ Roll Call Restructure, Rapp Upped

CQ Roll CallCQ Roll Call is restructuring staff to take a more aggressive approach to producing digital content, according to sources inside the pub. The marquee change is the creation of a new position, Chief Content Officer, and the promotion of Roll Call Editor David Rapp to fill the role. Rapp will be the top dog in the newsroom, overseeing content across all of CQ Roll Call’s platforms, with an emphasis on engaging consumers and coordinating Roll Call’s public-facing political coverage with CQ’s professional services.

Rapp moved to Roll Call a year ago from  BGOV, though he did work at CQ prior to that as editor and senior vice president.

Also as part of the reshuffling, Chief Technology Officer Dennis Arndt and Vice President of Marketing Valerie Voci will be moved to advisory roles. There should be more news on the changes at CQ Roll Call coming, so stay tuned for updates.

Inside the Newsroom: CNN New York Bureau

Last weekend, FishbowlDC went to New York City (New York City!?) and got a tour of CNN’s New York Bureau. Here are some photos from the trip. What’s that you say? You wanna see pics of your newsroom up here on FishbowlDC? Well, by all means! Send your behind-the-scenes shots to fishbowldc@mediabistro.com, and we’ll slap em up here in a later post!

 

DC Journo-Land: It’s Not All Meanness and Backbiting

Happy Birthday Stephanie!It sure does get depressing here in the FishbowlDC offices, a.k.a. the patio in front of the Starbucks at 18th and Columbia (Free Wi-Fi y’all!). Forget that it’s so so cold, and that the darkness comes at 5:00 PM these days -sometimes the beat can just get you down. DC journos are known for their bitchy backhanded party banter, cryptic texts, and scathing online ripostes, and it can be quite an emotional drain to cover it all.

But then there are moments that make it all worthwhile. Moments that remind you, “Hey we may all hate each other a little, but in the end, we’re all so screwed up that no one can love us but the people we work with.”

And we do love each other. And it just warms my heart.

Exhibit A is this touching birthday video for CNN’s Stephanie Kotuby, starring colleagues Vaughn Sterling and Jill Chappell, set to the music of the late, great Lou Reed. Click, watch, and be merry. And Happy Birthday Stephanie!

Van Jones: “Sleep is for Mortals”

cufflinksSo who sports the super-patriotic cuff links? If you guessed Van Jones from CNN’s Crossfire, you win! Actually none of you guessed Van Jones, so none of you win. But that’s okay, even the man himself admits they’re uncharacteristic.

“My liberal friends get mad at me for wearing them,” he told us through a mouthful of chicken tacos after his 6:30 show last night.

He’s not exactly a wrap-yourself-in the flag kinda guy after all. Indeed, his appeal on Crossfire is as an unapologetic, anti-war, anti-gun, pro-social welfare Progressive. Add to that a stint as Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar,” and detractors are quick to label him as one of those people trying to “destroy America.”

VanJonesVan himself isn’t bothered by such accusations. “You know, I think there are only two parties in this countries -the ‘Give a Damn’ Party and the ‘Don’t Give a Damn’ Party. Me and everyone I work with, we’re part of the ‘Give a Damn’ Party.”

We asked Van where co-star Newt Gingrich fell on that spectrum. “Oh Newt is great! You know I think I’m the only other person in the country besides his wife, Callista, who has read every single one of his books.”

Even the alternative fiction? “Okay, every non-fiction book.”

That’s what we thought.

“Working with Newt is a privilege though. The man knows everything. You never know when he’ll turn to you and say something like, ‘President Reagan once gave me some advice about life…’ How often do you get to have access to a resource like that?”

Read more

Behind the Scenes on Election Night At CNN

We have a pretty good idea where you guys went to watch the election results come in. And while we desperately wanted to drink as well, we got an invite we just couldn’t refuse: the Crossfire Control Room at CNN.

Sam FeistUpon arriving at the First Street NE bureau we bumped into Sam Feist, DC Bureau Chief. He ushered us into his office where we peered over his shoulder at some early election results. “This is strictly off the record, of course.” Of course.  An excited Feist launched in to an explanation of how off year election coverage differs from a general election just as CNNPolitics.com editor Bryan Monroe walked in.  Monroe grabbed a handful of Jelly Bellies from a crystal bowl before assuring Feist that CNN.com’s election interactive was primed with the first round of voter data.

Soon we were off to the control room, where Crossfire Supervising Producer David Chalian was covering for EP Rebecca Kutler.  As we watched on what seemed like hundreds of screens, Van Jones and Newt Gingrich argued amicably, and the normally sedate Donna Brazile laced into the Tea Party with uncharacteristic zeal. Digital producer Eric Weisbrod sat quietly in the front, headset on, watching the screens intently. A nod to new CNN Chief Jeff Zucker’s digital focus?  controlroom

The show wrapped to light applause, and the crowded control room emptied quickly as people scrambled to get dinner –they all had to be back for an 11:30 post-election live hour with Newt and Van. The stars of the show were in a similar mindset. We caught up with them in the hallway as Van called out, “Hey Newt, isn’t there supposed to be free food around here?” Mr. Speaker shrugged, “I think it’s on floor 9?”

In the elevator ride down, Newt, with professorial ease, opined about the state of the California Republican party. Of a Crossfire guest who shall remain nameless he said, “I’m not sure _____ is too comfortable talking about that stuff.” Newt, of course, is comfortable talking about everything. Van was upbeat, even though he just came in from California, where he spends half his time overseeing four non-profits. So upbeat in fact, that he agreed to sit down with FishbowlDC for a quick chat –after his tacos of course. More on that convo to come…

WaPo Brass In The Dark on Bezos’ Plans

kremlinApparently, the Washington Post staff is brushing up on their Kremlinology. Not even the top editors or Katharine Weymouth herself know what Jeff Bezos has in mind for the American-icon-turned-Kaplan-subsidiary. But they have been traveling to Seattle to pay their respects to the new Czar and try to divine some of his intentions. Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt offered to resign, thinking this might please The Bezos, but was met merely with a cool, sphinx-like stare. Bezos seemed somewhat more responsive the idea of dropping the new pay-wall, reportedly raising an eyebrow and twitching his lip slightly. National Journal‘s Matthew Cooper has the story:

 

“Bezos has tread cautiously. He has only been to D.C. once since the purchase, although a second visit is planned soon. Even more intriguing, there’s no landing party of Bezos acolytes scurrying about nor is there a massive, McKinsey-style evaluation of the enterprise beyond the due diligence that Allen & Co. handled with the initial $250 million sale—one that included The Post and a handful of community newspapers. Insiders say Bezos will go through The Post carefully in something of a listening tour, beginning with the business side.

But top Washington Post management has made a pilgrimage to his home in Seattle, National Journal has learned. Earlier this fall, Editor Martin Baron, Publisher Katharine Weymouth, and the president of the company, Steve Hills, visited Bezos at the billionaire’s home on Lake Washington—a residence so big tax records show it cost $28 million a few years back. Bezos himself made pancakes for the group and brought no staff as they conducted a long session reviewing the paper’s business and editorial content.

What can be derived from these first modest steps? They add flesh to Bezos’s public statements about The Post and the 49-year-old’s style as one of the great entrepreneurs in American history. And they are emblematic of his methodical approach.”

C-SPAN Peeks Under National Review’s Hood

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On Friday morning, C-SPAN will set up shop in National Review‘s newsroom near Union Station to broadcast “Washington Journal.” And just in case anyone from the Democratic line gets wigged out by this, later this month, they’ll dive into Mother Jones‘ Washington bureau as well.

Come on. Who says C-SPAN isn’t fair and balanced?

“Washington Journal” Executive Producer Michele Remillard explained that… Read more

A Mouse Still in WJLA’s House

Unknown-2Apparently the managerial team over at WJLA HQ in Rosslyn, Va. haven’t found a good exterminator. Or maybe they’re just too busy to find one at all?

The mouse is back in the newsroom.

Back in July shrieks could be heard coming out of WJLA’s workspace. This morning some employees tried to chase “the thing” around their desks. The upside: Who doesn’t want rodents for coworkers?

Developing…

 

Why Breitbart’s Lee Stranahan Really Quit

i-quitBefore the crack of dawn Thursday, Lee Stranahan, a writer for Breitbart.com had already pushed the news that he was leaving the site. As the sun rose, he was getting ready to board a flight for the Middle East to cover the plight of  Syrian Christian refugees.

So why did Stranahan, a disciple of the late Andrew Breitbart in the truest sense, quit?

In the story published on his personal website with the headline, “Bye Bye Breitbart: I Quit and Thanks,” he explained that he resigned from Breitbart.com Wednesday night.

“Why did I quit?” he wrote in his piece. “Circumstances led to a situation where I felt  I couldn’t do my best work there.  Honestly, it’s for reasons I believe Andrew would have approved of. Andrew and I shared a passion for covering big stories that the media overlooked and exposing the left; work that I plan to continue.”

We asked for more details. Read more

Are Transgender Style Guidelines Evolving or is Everyone Still Terribly Confused?

Think Progress intern Marina Fang, like a bunch of other news outlets as of late, has a fascinating piece on newsroom guidelines regarding transgender reporting. The question at hand: Should writers use the preferred “he” or “she” pronouns despite how a person was born?

Fang’s piece comes in the context of Private Chelsea Manning, the Army private who was previously Bradley Manning. Manning considers herself female even though she was born male. AP will use the pronoun preferred by the individual, as will the NYT. WaPo is still “reviewing its procedure.” NPR used male pronouns Thursday but by Friday “had evolved.” Not included in Fang’s story is MetroWeekly, one of Washington’s two gay publications, which refers to Manning as “she” through and through.

The Daily Caller is mixed — no set policy. “The transgender thing is tough,” Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson told FishbowlDC. “I feel sorry for them for sure — imagine being so unhappy you castrated yourself — and in general we call people what they want to be called. On the other hand, you can’t change your sex. It’s impossible. A person’s sex is determined at the DNA level.  It’s lying to pretend otherwise.  We don’t have a policy on it though.”

The Hill, run by conservative-leaning Hugo Gurdon, appears to agree with Carlson. They called Manning “he” and explained that “he” preferred to be known as Chelsea Manning. White House Spokesman Josh Earnest, meanwhile, referred to Manning as “Mr. Manning” in a recent White House briefing.

Still, Fang writes that the AP and NYT “danced around the issue, using gender-neutral pronouns in their stories on Manning when the story first broke last Thursday.”

This is Think Progress, after all, so Fang avoids citing the policies of conservative sites. But a quick look at Breitbart.com addresses the whole he/she issue like this. Read more

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