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Archives: July 2005

A Hardy Correspondent

Hotline went off air today to interview CBS White House Producer Hardy Spire, who works on the “Early Show” with Bill Plante.

A D.C.-area native, he grew up “in the ‘burbs” in Bethesda, although much of his childhood was also spent in Burlington, Iowa with his mother’s family. “I always liked the balance between East Coast and Midwestern lifestyles,” he writes.

His most embarrassing story came while working at CBS New York, where he started as a page for the Letterman show: “sneaking into the Ed Sullivan Theater after a few beers at the bar next door and being caught by Mr. Letterman himself as my girlfriend (now wife Tami) and I sat on stage behind the drums. He couldn’t have been nicer about it, but the security guards kept an extra eye on me after that.”

In 2024, if his Powerball strategy doesn’t pan out, he hopes to still be with CBS “producing interesting stories or interesting news broadcasts for the next generation.”

His favorite vacation spot is Essex, New York onLake Champlain, and nearby his last meal would be a “two-inch thick steak from the Village Meat Market in Willsboro, NY (rare), sweet corn from Saywards in Essex, NY, and Foggy Bottom Lager.”

And, in the cutest answer ever, his favorite book is “Goodnight Moon.” “It ties my childhood to my current life as a father of two beautiful kids and it’s a wonderful reminder to notice everything around you, and enjoy the quiet moments,” he writes.

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‘Hottest Media Types’ Contest Update

An update on the Hottest D.C. Media Types: Make sure to get your nominations in before Sunday evening when the contest closes. Email garrett AT mediabistro DOT com or use the tip box.

Remember the only criteria: Nominees have to work in the media and be based in Washington, D.C. Ipso facto, Jeff Gannon doesn’t count since he’s not currently employed in the media and Anderson Cooper doesn’t count because he’s not in Washington.

In addition to the Hottest On Airs and Hottest Off Airs, Best Dressed, Hottest On Site, and Hottest When You Get To Know Them, by popular demand, we’re also thinking of adding a category for Cutest Media-Related Baby. So, if you know of cute recent D.C. media babies, send them along.

The Official Fishbowl D.C. Judging Panel is beginning deliberations today to draw up the list of finalists before Monday’s voting starts. So far the off air categories are proving much more popular than the on air talent, and although ABC is solidly leading the pack in nominations, we’ve seen entries from everyone from Congress Daily to Reader’s Digest to AARP Magazine.

Also, here’s an interesting one that came our way today: Which D.C. editor is pictured here?

Find out on Monday.

AP Appoints New D.C. Editor

johnchenry.jpgThe AP’s Washington bureau chief, Sandy Johnson, announced this morning that former Houston Chronicle D.C. Bureau Chief John C. Henry will be the wire’s Washington news editor.

A native Texan, Henry, 56, has covered politics and government as a reporter and editor for the Houston Chronicle and the Austin American-Statesman since 1980, and since 2000 has been the bureau chief for the Chron, the nation’s seventh-largest newspaper.

A graduate of Mississippi State University, Henry’s newspaper career began with a stint at the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville, and later at the Starkville Daily News, and the Meridian Star.

He’s also a former Knight Fellow at Stanford University.

Post’s Berlin Chief Honored

The Post announced this morning that its Berlin bureau chief Craig Whitlock has won the 2005 Peter R. Weitz Prize for excellence in reporting on European affairs for his articles on terrorism. The award, given by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., carries with it a $10,000 prize.

Whitlock, 37, won for five investigative articles on the paths of terrorism in Europe that were published last year between July and November. “His articles examine the delicate line democracies walk between civil liberties and homeland security and also expose the lack of intra-Europe and transatlantic cooperation, highlighting how much remains to be done,” the Fund wrote.

Two Minds on Nightline’s Goldston

James Goldston‘s appointment as the new executive producer of “Nightline” has people going in two directions–while most seem to feel that the decision bodes well for hard news on the show, some are seeing his more racy reporting episodes perhaps as a move towards a much-feared future “Nightline” that is more entertainment-focused.

“Mr. Goldston is being asked to undertake one of the toughest assignments in television news: to widen the appeal of ‘Nightline’ at a time when Americans have never had more choices for how to get the news,” the New York Times reports.

B&C’s John Eggerton, for instance, reports Goldston’s “Jackson credit would seem to play to that change.” In that vein, the NY Observer even raises the possibility that the star of the Michael Jackson documentary, Brit journo Martin Bashir might end up at the revamped Nightline: “Goldston’s appointment also raises the possibility that Bashir, who works as a correspondent for ABC News, might join his old friend on Nightline. Producers have auditioned a rotating docket of talent on Koppel’s off-nights but have not settled on a new anchor or anchors, and Bashir could be a promising candidate.”

On the other hand, as hard news credentials go, Goldston’s couldn’t be much more secure: Among many other credits, he’s a former producer for the BBC’s “Newsnight,” an across-the-pond descendent of “Nightline.” Variety points out today that Goldston was behind Britain’s most watched documentary of the last decade.

The aspect we’re most troubled by? That Goldston appears to be staying in New York, despite the fact that most of the show’s staff and, historically at least, the talent is based in Washington.

‘Each of our fingers has a special purpose’

bushfinger.gifThe open hostility between the White House and the press corps may not have actually sunk to the level feared. MSNBC footage and Jay Leno gave rise briefly to the notion that President Bush gave the finger (a.k.a. “the bird”) to the assembled horde of reporters on Capitol Hill yesterday (see left).

The press or at least Cox’s Ken Herman took a moment away from the Rove questioning to confront Scott McClellan about it at today’s briefing:

KEN HERMAN: Scott, last night on the Tonight Show, Jay Leno, who apparently is subbing for Johnnie, displayed a video of the President at the Capitol yesterday. In that video, the President walking away from the press lifts his hand and raises a finger. Mr. Leno interpreted it as, shall we say, a finger of hostility. Each of our fingers has a special purpose and meaning in life. (Laughter.) Can you tell us what finger it was he held up?

MR. McCLELLAN: Ken, I’m not even going to dignify that with much of a response. But if someone is misportraying something, that’s unfortunate.

KEN HERMAN: Well, it was not a finger of hostility?

MR. McCLELLAN: Ken, I was there with him, and I’m just not going to — I’m not going to dignify that with a response. I mean, I haven’t seen the video that you’re talking about, but I know the way the President acts. And if someone is misportraying it, that’s unfortunate.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) Dan Froomkin says it’s a thumb, not a birdie.

Video here and Wonkgirl’s snide comments here.

Hottest Media Types

We’ve spent a lot of wasted words writing about the ugly people in Washington, but with over 50 nominations so far in the as-yet-to-be-named “Fishbowl D.C. Top 10 Hottest Media Personalities in Washington” contest, there also appear to be some relatively attractive people in D.C.’s Fourth Estate.

shuster.jpgA certain blue-eyed boy wonder at MSNBC is running away in the early nominations, but overall ABC and the Washington Post are leading the pack in sheer numbers (5 and 8, respectively). There must be some hot people at the other networks around here, folks.

Keep your nominations (and photos) coming: garrett AT mediabistro DOT com or use the tip box. And, please, stop sending dirty-seeming comments about how you can always trust David Shuster to tell you the “real story.”

CNN Taps Redisch For WH Unit

The new executive producers are coming as fast and furious today as the White House’s CAFTA lobbying was yesterday.

SteveRedischnewsroom.jpgCNN just announced that Steve Redisch, the D.C. deputy bureau chief, will be the network’s new executive producer for the dozen or staff of the White House unit, led by correspondents Dana Bash and Suzanne Malveaux.

As EP, Redisch (who will also continue as DCOB) will oversee all operations of the White House coverage CNN White House unit including planning coverage, assigning correspondents, managing pool assignments and representing CNN in official manners with the White House Press Office.

Redisch joined CNN in 1987 as a producer for Washington, D.C.-based anchors, before moving on to be senior producer at Inside Politics, and executive producer for “Early Prime/WorldView,” “The World Today,” and “Wolf Blitzer Reports.”

At 1600 Pennsylvania, he replaces Danielle Whelton, who left the post earlier in the spring but remains at CNN.

> Earlier: Redisch recounts his time at CNN and says, “My experience in the Washington Bureau became a love-hate relationship. ”

‘Nightline’ Names Brit As EP

nightline.gifTalk about big shoes to fill. ABC News today announced that James Goldston, a former BBC producer, will take over from departing “Nightline” Executive Producer Tom Bettag at the end of the year.

The selection of a storied producer from the British mold perhaps more than any other move we’ve seen so far signals ABC’s intention to keep “Nightline” as a hard news show.

“James is a talented and experienced producer with deep roots in daily and documentary news. His admiration and respect for Nightline’s rich history and tradition coupled with his strong journalistic background makes James the ideal producer to lead Nightline into the future,” ABC News head David Westin said.

Goldston, who from 2002 to 2004 was EP of ITV1′s “Tonight with Trevor McDonald“–Britain’s leading current affairs show–before joining ABC last year, said: “I am delighted and honored to be joining the Nightline team. It is a show with a rich and vibrant heritage, and I’m very much looking forward to working with everyone at ‘Nightline’ to maintain and enhance its reputation in the year’s ahead.”

While Goldston has a distinguished career at ITV1 and BBC, he’s probably best known to American audiences as the EP behind “Living with Michael Jackson,” Martin Bashir‘s infamous documentary about the singer.

Most recently, Goldston has been ABC’s senior producer of primetime specials and investigative reports.

Full release after the jump.

> The New York Observer has more: “Goldston’s top competition for the post was Sara Just, the current second-in-command at Nightline, who was said to be the preferred candidate among the show’s tight-knit staff. Just traveled to New York for a meeting this morning with ABC brass. ABC plans for her to continue to work as managing senior producer of the show at least through the December transition, an ABC source said.”

Read more

‘We haven’t heard an answer’

Yesterday’s press briefing was another chapter in the growing frustration of the White House reporters about the lack of answers on the Rove/Plame leak investigation (or, as the Note called it today, the “Same Lame Plame Dame Blame Game”):

Q: Has Karl Rove offered to resign, in view of his problems?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you keep asking these questions that are related to an ongoing investigation –

Q: Does he still have his security clearance?

MR. McCLELLAN: — and those are questions that have already been addressed.

Q: No, they — I’ve never heard this before. Have you?

MR. McCLELLAN: The question has been asked before.

Q: We haven’t heard an answer.

Q: What was your answer?

Q: There hasn’t been an answer.

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead.

The next question was on to Judge Roberts.