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Archives: July 2005

D.C. Style Taps New Publisher

Completing an extensive game of media musical chairs, start-up luxury mag D.C. Style announced today that Charleen Stewart will serve as the mag’s publisher.

She takes over from acting publisher John Colabellia, the founder and publisher of sister publication Philadelpia Style, who stepped up when the magazine’s original publisher (Steve Mailman) departed under less-than-harmonious terms in May.

Stewart, you probably don’t remember, was the vice president of advertising at the start-up D.C. Examiner, prior to her unexplained replacement this month.

An Army brat who grew up in various places and graduated from the University of Hawaii, she’s spent nearly two decades in Washington now. Prior to joining the Examiner in December, she’d spent 14 years with the Washington Post, beginning as a sales rep and working her way up as as marketing manager, retail sales director, and classified sales manager before becoming director of strategic initiatives.

WETA’s Percy Rockefeller Diagnosed With Cancer

sharonpercyrockefeller.jpgWETA’s President and CEO Sharon Percy Rockefeller announced to her staff yesterday that she’s been diagnosed a treatable form of colorectal cancer.

“Over the next three months, I will be undergoing concurrent radiation and chemotherapy treatments. My doctors are confident that this therapy,
while leaving me sick and fatigued, is the best course of action. They also recommend that I focus my energies on my recovery. Thus, my daily schedule will be uncertain as I take this brief leave from my commitments,” she wrote.

The 60-year-old Percy Rockefeller, wife of West Virginia’s Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller, has been the head of WETA, D.C.’s PBS station and the home of programs like the “Lehrer NewsHour” and “Washington Week in Review,” since 1989.

Joe Bruns, the channel’s #2, will stand in during her absence.

Full email after the jump.

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Go For Launch….

With T-Minus ten minutes and counting, TVNewser is tracking the shuttle countdown coverage….

MSNBC’s Matthews’ Father Passes Away

matthewsjuly26.jpgCousin TVNewser has Chris Matthewstribute yesterday to his father, who passed away over the weekend:

“When a parent dies, as my father did early yesterday, you find yourself wandering backwards in time over all the years you’ve known them.

“My father, a lifelong golfer for example, played it as it laid, as they say, like others of his World War II generation.

“He was the opposite of a whiner. I never knew anyone who worked harder all those years he was raising my four brothers and I, or had a better time in his retirement.

“Dad liked parties. He loved weddings because it was obvious he loved marriage. Nothing made him happier than seeing a young couple get together for life. I remember how happy he was and he and mom saw Kathleen and I get married a quarter century ago, they were walking on air.

“Well this weekend once again, we were all there, this huge extended family of ours for our nephew Brian’s wedding to the beautiful Julie. It was at the Aldridge mansion up in Rhode Island, where they made the movie Meet Joe Black.

“Well, just like in the movie, the bride and groom were the toast of the party, my dad and his beloved Trudy were in heaven, and the families on both sides could not have been more joyous.

“Dad died Sunday morning without warning, but also without terror, as if God had taken him in the glow of what he had just a few hours before called the happiest day of his life.”

It’s been a sad week for D.C. media and their parents. Read Maureen Dowd‘s Sunday tribute to her mother here.

Monday Trash 07.25.05

Other items of note today:

Something We Often Wonder….

Howard Kurtz today answers a question we often ask:

Question: I swear I’m not being snide, I’m honestly curious: What’s the point of McClellan’s White House briefings? It appears to me that the only thing porduced from them are repeats of the exact same thing someone in the administration said earlier. He does not answer questions that haven’t been addressed, and answers questions that have been addressed using almost the exact same words as Bush, or whoever, did originally.

Does any news ever come out of a White House briefing?

Howard Kurtz: Occasionally, when the administration decides it wants to make news. But even half an hour of we-can’t-comment-because-it’s-under-investigation can be revealing of an administration’s mindset. Also, the briefings are the only daily crack at a top White House official that the press corps gets. Keep in mind that for decades, until Mike McCurry, these briefings were not televised, so people didn’t see, or only read summaries of, the rhetorical combat.

So there you have it: No. The briefings are just like aspic: an elaborate and shiny gloss holding together not very much.

FLASH: Novak Sells Access

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HURRY!!!!!! Only a few seats left!!!!! Bob Novak, the Prince of Darkness himself, is selling 85 seats to people willing to pay $595 for his access to Washington’s top decision-makers. An email invite from Novak went out this morning to Human Events’ mailing list offering a limited-time offer to sign up attend the three-decade-old “Evans-Novak Political Forum” and get access to “The Ultimate (Secret) Source.”

“This meeting is strictly off the record, and what is said there remains one of Washington’s best-kept secrets,” the email touts. At the forum “high-ranking officials openly discuss the most important topics facing the country, including national security, politics on the Hill, and the economy… You can ask them anything you want, and remarkably candid responses are given.”

While the website claims the event is on September 21st, the email says the 22nd. Either way, it’s at the University Club. Additional guests are a bargain at only $395.

Nothing quite like trading on access, right? Maybe this is that Faustian bargain that Mark Feldstein was talking about in yesterday’s Post. The email touts that such luminaries as Karl Rove himself have spoken at previous events.

Maybe for $595, we could learn how Novak is involved in this whole Rove leak investigation thing….

It seems, with all of the drama over sources and a reporter sitting in jail for a story that Novak wrote, that this is a particularly unpleasant and inappropriate time for anyone to be advertising such an event that mixes journalism with cash to result in access to national leaders–and particularly repulsive given that Novak himself is doing it.

Hence, our second awarding of a Stinky Fish award recognizing the worst journalism journalism has to offer. Think of the Stinky Fish as the Anti-Pulitzer.

So congrats Mr. Novak: Today, you officially stink.

[Full email invite, complete with misspelling of Bob Shrum, after the jump]

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Admin Skips Middlemen, Takes Over TV

gutierrez_official_180.jpgIn the Bush administration’s latest campaign to undermine the “typical Washington press corps” and speak directly to the American people, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez this morning guest hosted CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

What’s next? Ken Mehlman guest hosting “Meet the Press”? On the other hand, if you believe the Huffington Post’s multi-week campaign against Tim Russert, the substance wouldn’t change all that much.

Kurtz: Journalism Can Be Hard

supremecourt.jpgIn a multimedia package, Howard Kurtz this weekend examined how certain beats in journalism (say, for instance, the Supreme Court) can be hard to explain to the idiots who newspapers call “readers” and television news networks call “viewers.”

In his newspaper column today, Kurtz talks to legal experts (the same ones, mind you, who told us Michael Jackson was guilty and that Edith Clement was the President’s nominee) about how Court life is “hard work,” as some would say.

“The Supreme Court deals overwhelmingly with abstractions, and ideas and abstractions are not easy to convey on television,” CNN’s Jeff Toobin tells him. By way of excusing the media’s poor coverage, Toobin says, “The culture of the Supreme Court is so full of restraint and inaccessibility.”

[This is the point where Jon Stewart would make a face of shock and diasppointment and then shake his fists, shouting something about "growing" and "cojones" and "doing your job."]

Then yesterday on his CNN show, “Reliable Sources,” Kurtz talked with USA Today’s Joan Biskupic about how our “instant culture” responds to the plodding minutae that is Court life. She discussed how the life has changed in the age of television as it tries to respond to the nomination of Judge John Roberts: “Everybody expects to have the answer right away. How many people have had the time to read all of his opinions, to read what he’s testified to, and to go back through a lot of public files out at the Reagan Library that are available to sort of assess this man? It’s almost as if with TV and the blog now, both of which I completely support, there is an expectation that we’ll know right away what is he all about.”

Looking ahead to September, when the media might have both the Rove investigation and Supreme Court nomination hearings to cover, Kurtz observes, “Let’s see if the media can walk and chew gum at the same time.”

We’re gonna with “no” on that one, Howie.

‘Nightline’ Takes Critics’ Award; ‘Daily Show’ Now A Comedy?

nightlineted.jpegAs the Television Critics’ Association massive annual gathering winds down, ABC’s “Nightline” has won the critics’ fourth annual prestigious Heritage Award, recognizing “a long-standing program that made a lasting cultural or social impact.”

The nightly news show, which this year is celebrating its silver anniversary, beat out PBS’ “Frontline” and “Sesame Street,” CBS’ “M*A*S*H,” and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” for the honor. Last year, the award went to CBS’ “60 Minutes.” This year “Frontline” was the only other news show to take home an award, winning in the “Outstanding Achievement in News & Information” category.

Interestingly, Jon Stewart‘s “The Daily Show,” which last year was honored with the news award, this year won in the comedy category. Perhaps it was because last year’s snub to “real” news shows made CBS’ Andy Heyward “cranky“? On the other hand, our cousin at FishbowlNY would argue that he’s more news now than ever.

Beyond the news division, the night was all around good to ABC: Its shows “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” won the association’s top honors.

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