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Archives: February 2005

Non-Beatle Talks Breaking News

In this week’s “Ask the Post” chat, Robert J. McCartney, the WP’s AME for Continuous News (as opposed to, like, what?), talked about how the website and the print edition interact and complement each other on breaking stories (Answer: The Continuous News Department!). As these things go, it’s actually a pretty worthwhile discussion–especially if you care about the ins and outs of newspaper newsrooms, and the Post’s approach to technology and online reporting.

He also answers the most important question:

Liverpool, U.K.: Are you any relation to Paul? And how often do you get asked that?

Robert J. McCartney: I am no relation to Paul, but I am regularly asked that. I did visit his boyhood home in Liverpool two summers ago, and it was delightful.

Will GannonGate Ever Go Away?

GannonGate is the story that just won’t end. It’s getting to the point where we feel Gawker’s pain about writing about the Gates day after day–although more recently, they’ve at least gotten to write about Paris Hilton’s sidekick.

We haven’t quite figured out the Fishbowl angle on that one–and while we’re pretty sure we could hack into Jano Cabrera’s Blackberry somehow we don’t think that publishing the private cell phone numbers of Ron Brownstein and Elisabeth Bumiller would create quite the same hysteria.

Enough digressing. Here’s the latest on GannonGate: Salon picks up the story of hard passes vs. day passes, and over at BuzzFlash propaganda “expert” Mark Crispin Miller explores the various deeper meanings of the whole affair. Miller answers a variety of “fair and balanced” questions like this one:

BuzzFlash: If the Gannon/Guckert affair–which touches upon so many of the threats that the Bush White House poses to America and its utter moral corruption–doesn’t force the mainstream press to forsake corporate profit concerns and fear of getting Karl Rove upset, what would?

Also E&P continues its dogged reporting, digging more deeply into Gannon’s role in last fall’s South Dakota senate race. Yawn.

Please make this story go away soon — or if you’re Jeff Gannon, please call us so we have something new and interesting to report…

Sirius Scores NASCAR, Wins Over Stern Fans

In the world of satellite radio, two good pieces of news for Sirius, the smaller of the two space-based broadcast companies.

For starters, Sirius has stolen away NASCAR broadcasts from Florida Avenue-based rival XM in a deal worth $107.5 million over five years-or, in other words, “a lot more” than XM had been paying for the broadcasts.

Also some news about one of Sirius’s other spending sprees: Howard Stern (we’re not sure whether we’re obligated to use “shock jock” whenever we refer to him, but we’re going ahead without).

A new survey by Bridge Ratings has 20 percent of Stern’s regular listeners ready to jump to Sirius when he moves to satellite in January 2006, but only 7 percent actually want to go once they realized all of the stuff they have to buy. While the number seems low, it’s actually great news for Sirius, who previously said that an 8 percent conversion of his 12 million fans would allow them to break even on the hundred-million dollar deal.

Speaking of Stern, personally, we can’t wait until tomorrow when Wonkette’s Wired article on Stern is posted. It’s always nice to see that she’s actually working.

CNN Restructures Security Coverage

CNN_logo2.jpgTVNewser pointed us to the creation of CNN’s new “America Bureau,” which will combine the network’s Justice, Homeland Security and national security beats into a new coordinated unit.

The American Bureau “will strategically integrate sources, information and contacts to pursue short-term investigations, piecing together comprehensive news stories to examine the state of security in the United States,” CNN’s in a press release said. Kelli Arena (Justice), David Ensor (national security) and Jeanne Meserve (Homeland Security) will staff the unit, and former acting CIA director John McLaughlin “will offer exclusive analysis” about security issues.

“CNN is fundamentally changing the way we gather and report security news,” explained David Bohrman, CNN’s D.C. bureau chief. “As government agencies strive to become more interconnected and open to information sharing, so, too, will our Justice Department, national security and homeland security beats. It allows us to use our award-winning journalists and newsgathering capabilities more strategically, putting together more comprehensive stories with more substantial background information.”

Shirley Hung will serve as executive producer for the America Bureau.

Lead Series Leads Post to Selden Prize

In another sign that award season is in full swing, the Washington Post yesterday received the 2005 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting for its series last year exposing elevated levels of lead in D.C.’s water.

The team of seven reporters–including David Nakamura, who first broke the story–take home the $35,000 prize, which is believed to be the largest in journalism.

Other winners on the team include Metro staff writers Carol D. Leonnig, D’Vera Cohn, Craig Timberg, Monte Reel and Jo Becker and newsroom database editor Sarah Cohen.

In making the announcement, Michael Parks, former editor of the LA Times and director of the awarding USC Annenberg School of Journalism, said the over 200 articles published by the Post in its investigation were “a very important piece of journalism–important to every man, woman and child living in the District of Columbia, drinking its water and thinking it was pure.”

We’re sure it was pretty important to Brita‘s bottom line last year too.

ABC’s Yellin Joins White House Team

jessicayellin.jpgCousin TVNewser reports:

“ABC News correspondent Jessica Yellin has joined chief White House correspondent Terry Moran and the network’s reporting staff at the White House,” the network has announced. She will cover the Bush admin for Good Morning America and other ABC News platforms. Yellin left MSNBC to join ABC in July 2003. She’s been a general assignment correspondent for GMA…

We’re still waiting for the announcement from Talon News on who will be filling their WH beat.

More on Deep Throat = Ben Stein

benstein.jpgThere’s a part of us that can’t believe we’d pass along information like this, but the argument is so strange that it’s almost compelling.

After (we guess) reading this post about whether Deep Throat could have been Carl Bernstein’s neighbor Ben Stein, a reader sent us this article.

It argues that because Ben Stein is undoubtedly Deep Throat because–get this–the former Nixon speechwriter was sick last month and, it turns out, so was Deep Throat.

Um, newsflash, bucko: Adrian Havill solved this problem two weeks ago: Former President George H.W. Bush is Deep Throat! Please stop sending tips about Deep Throat (unless, of course, you actually know who it is).

Need a Dinner Date?

There’s so much Jeff Gannon news out there today that we can’t really keep up.

Each time we think that his fifteen minutes have passed, he shows up for another round. After first saying he didn’t think doing more interviews would be beneficial to his case, he then showed up on Anderson Cooper last Friday and was all over Howard Kurtz’s column yesterday. And while Media Matters is trying to make hay out of whether Jeff Gannon was invited to various White House Christmas parties, CBS’ Dotty Lynch is the first to ask whether Gannon has ties to Karl Rove.

Now, today, Gannon/Guckert talked with E&P, and told them he hopes to attend the White House Correspondents Association dinner this year, as he claims to have done for the last two years. He’s not a WHCA member, so he’s hoping that someone invites him.

If you’re looking to bring him, though, you’d be well put to remember that he charges $200 an hour for outcalls.

(FYI, Fishbowl’s rates, by the way, are much lower, and we think we’d make a much better correspondents’ association dinner date…)

Kurtz Endorses Jello Wrestling

Jello.jpegIn Howard Kurtz’s weekly chat today, he dealt with all sorts of boring topics like Jeff Gannon, Jim Guckert, Talon News, and why the Post is conspiring to support the Bush administration.

The highlight, as selected by Fishbowl’s online chat focus group:

Question: If you were president of CNN, what would you do to boost ratings to a level that rivals Fox News?

Howard Kurtz: Jello wrestling.

It also appears that some bloggers–especially those who disagree with Kurtz’s politics–might want to dig around in his past and see why he made the following incriminating-sounding statements today:

Kurtz: I’ve gotten day passes to go over to the White House maybe 100 times, and believe me, it doesn’t involve an FBI background check.

Kurtz: We’re not allowed to do drugs anymore. One of those annoying corporate media rules.

(Note: We’ve done our best to remove all context from these quotes to make them appear as damaging as possible. Actual quotes may not be so interesting when presented in context.)

Whither Print Media?

In Sunday’s Post business section, Frank Ahrens picked up the recent ‘whither the newspaper’ meme, examining the reasons behind the steady decline in circulation over the last 17 years.

While there’s little new in his article, Ahrens manages to tie together a bunch of pieces of recent news: the rise of free tabloids, falling circulation, rising web readership, and the possibility of charging for online editions. Indeed the graphic from Ahrens’ article certainly paints a scary picture for the industry (and has very amusing illustrations of how Americans now get their news).

Perhaps the biggest problem facing newspapers, though, is the changing societal routine:

“You can’t take a half-hour to read the newspaper and eat a bowl of cereal in the morning. People aren’t eating cereal anymore, either. I know — I have General Mills as a client. People are eating yogurt bars on the way in to work,” said Steve Lerch, a newspaper advertising buyer.

But before those Posties on L Street start filling out the resumes (may we suggest or rather than the Post help wanted ads?), Ahrens concludes with some good news: “Newspaper companies are by no means close to extinction. Most large companies continue to report healthy profits, and ad revenues appear to be picking up.”