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Archives: March 2006

WTWP First Impressions


As of 5:30 a.m. today, WTWP, the Washington Post’s new radio station, is on the air. So far, it’s an awful lot of news. News, news, news. It’s not nearly as polished as NPR’s voice–the station sounds a lot more like lunchroom chatter from a bunch of print journalists. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of promise in the reporting and it’s sure to give C-SPAN a run for its money for the wonkiness outlet in Washington. David Broder has been opining at length repeatedly this morning regarding immigration, and Jacki Spinner and Rajiv Chandrasekeran are chatting about Jill Carroll.

“Good-sounding station. Lots of news and talk. Solid journalism. Sounds like what you’d get if you took what public radio talkers WAMU or WETA-FM do and throw in a bit more local content, some ads, and lots and lots of plugs for the Washington Post. If I was 88.5 or 90.9 I’d be a bit worried,” DCRTV observes today.

What do readers think? How’s WTWP treating you?

Radio/TV Dinner Wrap-Up

pic2.jpgLast night’s Radio-Television Correspondents Association 62nd Annual Dinner brought together the usual crowd of media types, Washington figures and even some quasi-celebrities. Neither Fishbowler spotted ever-present Ron Silver, but according to the handy-dandy 48-page guide/guest list distributed to every seat, he was there. Then, this morning, we got this email, “Ron Silver was seated at my NewsHour with Jim Lehrer table last night, taking the seat of one of our other staffers… was someone missing their invited guest? He shelled out $40 for an additional bottle of red wine. He enjoyed the comedian very much.” But Silver didn’t garner nearly as much “Who is that…?” buzz as the Daily Show’s Ed Helms.

The dinner brought together nearly 2300 black tied people at the Washington Hilton (including a roll call of Washington correspondents/anchors/reporters and some of the guests we mentioned yesterday). According to many quests, the food–mustard-rubbed filet mignon and mizo glazed tilapia–was among the worst in memory, and NBC News’ Michael Viquiera, the chair of the dinner, certainly enjoyed his microphone for the night.

On the plus side, the speaking program were better than normal, with a video tribute to Peter Jennings, Dick Cheney‘s slideshow, and a hilarious performance by comedian/Bush impersonator Frank Caliendo. The night’s two big awards went to Capital News Connection’s Chad Pergram (recipient of the Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based national affairs/public policy broadcasting) and ABC News’ Bob Woodruff, who during a moving presentation from David Bloom‘s young daughters, received the David Bloom Award for excellence in enterprise reporting. Woodruff, who is still recovering from his Iraq wounds, had a statement prepared that Martha Raddatz read. CNN’s Jeanne Meserve received a special recognition as part of the Bloom Awards too.

The after-party scene was radically different this year too. Normally Fox and CNN attempt to beat each other with the after-parties, but this year Fox, which was the target of serveral jokes through the night, left the Hilton to CNN and ushered its chosen guests off to an secret off-site after-party. The Eyebar soiree was a mixed success–perhaps a little bit too exclusive.

CNN’s “Club CNN” theme ended up with a packed party and hotel security folks ended up making people wait in line to enter the tropical-themed party with dance floor, sushi, ice cream, and cocktails. The “club” seemed to be filled with an overabundance of twenty-somethings who probably didn’t land a ticket to the actual dinner–which is why it was nearly packed as soon as the dinner let out) but who were eager to rub elbows with network anchors and the like (“Oooo…is that John Roberts?”). What had to be hired dancers led the way on the dance floor with their swing and salsa, but it still took a while to convince others to get jiggy with it. After all, it’s much more difficult keeping your attention focused on Martin Bashir when you’re bumping and grinding Caribbean-style.

The hundreds of people who couldn’t make it into the pounding CNN party wandered over to the more staid NBC Universal party down the hall. Even Ed Helms ended up at the overflow party when the line at the CNN party proved too daunting.

CNN’s Zain Verjee Comes To D.C.

zainverjee.jpgB&C today is reporting that CNNI anchor Zain Verjee has been reassigned to Washington as a general correspondent for CNN.

She’s been at CNNI since 2000 and currently anchors “Your World Today” with Jim Clancy, which U.S. viewers can catch at noon.

“Verjee will exit CNNI Friday, take off two weeks, then return April 16 as a CNN general correspondent, based in Washington, according to a network source,” B&C says.

She will likely be the first addition to the Washington press corps who speaks both Gujarati and Kiswahili.

Taking Out The Trash, 03.29.06

We Heart Post Parties Edition:

  • R.I.P. Lee Hall, correspondent for NBC-TV and VOA.

  • With Libby Copeland at least temporarily taking over Mark Leibovich’s job, looks like he’s doing a bit of on the job training (in the form of dual bylines) before he passes the baton.

  • Reliable Source reports on the return of Rebecca Roberts (daughter of Cokie and Steve) to Washington, where she will hosta new WETA-FM daily talk show.

  • Do Post columnists have too much free time? After all, what the hell is Eugene Robinson doing reviewingAmerican Idol?

  • Congrats to the Post’s Scott Higham and Robert O’Harrow Jr. for winning “the top award for newspapers of circulation greater than 500,000 in the Investigative Reporters and Editors investigative reporting competition.”

  • The Wonkettes get Ben Domenech on the record. DailyKos is currently looking into whether Domenech’s email to the Wonkettes was also written by Jonah Goldberg at any point in the past five years.

  • can’t keep secrets.

  • The Real Ben Domenech

    The good ‘ol boys over at Wonkette have taken off their slutty cap for a second and donned a sleuth-y one instead. They’ve done some impressive work breaking through the Regnery Fortress and have unearthed a bit more about Ben Domenech’s brief tenure there.

    According to Wonkette’s source (whom Domenech contends is way off-base), Regnery’s decision to let Domenech go was made easier by Domenech’s own incompetency as a book editor (to wit: he reportedly screwed up while editing Michelle Malkin’s book, which may explain why she turned on him so quickly).

    62nd Annual Radio-Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner

    Many in DC are excited for tonight’s 62nd Annual Radio-Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

    It’s the kind of event where…

    …television networks worry themselves over who has more tables (last year, Fox had 34 to CNN’s 29) and which network has the best after party

    …where you can–yet again–ask yourself, “Why does Ron Silver keep showing up at these things?”

    …where you can see George Stephanopolous sitting between Karl Rove and Howard Dean

    …where you can thumb through the 44-page seating chart to discover who else is there and who scored betters seats

    …where you can enjoy a meal consisting of “a mushroom phyllo flower, overcooked horseradish crusted filets of beef, cajun salmon, garlic basil mashed potatoes, and grilled vegetables in a merlot sauce,”

    …and where you can sit through mildly funny jokes and wonder, “When do the after-parties begin?”

    FishbowlDC will be there in full force tonight and ready to tell you all about it tomorrow. In the meantime, check out some of the lists of network special guests after the jump.

    Read more

    “Across the Board Failures”

    The Washington Post today editorializes about the upsetting final hours of New York Times reporter David Rosenbaum.

    “The last 46 hours of New York Times reporter David E. Rosenbaum’s life can be segmented into three stages: his robbery and beating on Gramercy Street NW; the response of the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS); and his treatment at Howard University Hospital, where he died from a massive head injury.

    Following an investigation by the D.C. Health Department, the Post denounces “across-the-board failures.”

    Here’s our question: Why is it that the Washington Post (lead by Colby King) is doing a better job reporting this story than Rosenbaum’s own paper?

    Foer Lets Loose

    DCist scores a great interview with new New Republic Editor Franklin Foer. We learn all sorts of interesting information about Foer, including that his parents were routinely robbed at gunpoint growing up.

    Perhaps it was that sort of thuggish childhood that made the best part of the interview possible:

    The chickety-check-yo-self-before-you-wreck-yourself ‘tude that Foer adopts in this sentence:

      Check this: I have got a baby girl.

    A little bit of hip and bad English? We like him already.

    Other gems:

    • “Now, I’m just riffing.”
    • “If you say something crap on TV…”
    • “Girls are always hurling their panties at me. It’s so annoying.”
    • “But Chelsea gives me a rash.”

    Foer may be exactly what TNR needs: A self-deprecating editor with a sense of humor.

    (Bad joke/stupid comment of the day: Do the Foers purposely avoid playing golf so that they don’t constantly get distracted when someone yells out “Fore!”?

    Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.)

    In Defense of Jim Brady

    Jack Shafer goes easy on Executive Editor Jim Brady in his latest piece for Slate.

      To begin with, I don’t know of any editor who, absent an inkling, conducts a plagiarism investigation before hiring a writer or assigning a piece…So, if we’re going to take Brady to the woodshed for not knowing his young new writer was a plagiarist, let’s reserve room for the dozens of editors at top newspapers, magazines, and book publishers who’ve repeatedly published the work of accused serial plagiarists…Domenech’s critics have cited his youth and relative lack of experience in their various excoriations, but promoting writers to do work beyond what their age and résumé would recommend isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Look at the careers of Michael Kinsley, Michael Lewis, Cameron Crowe, Lester Bangs, and Ted Conover, who accomplished much in the field when still green. Or look at current tyro Joshua Foer, a former Slate intern…It’s nobody’s fault but Domenech’s that he committed career suicide.

    Is there a way for bloggers and blog empires (such as to work together? Could, say, Brady inform the world of the five final candidates for a blogging position and let the blogosphere have at it? Although this idea certainly has downsides (i.e. many bloggers would rake over the coals–potentially damaging their careers and livs–candidates who might never end up getting the job anyway, yet the damage will endure…), it might earn folks like Brady some street cred in the blogging community while simultaneously making his job of weeding out the bad seeds much easier.

    >Speaking of Shafer, Ankush Khardori, blogging over at the Huffington Post, has some advice: Send media critics to Iraq.

      Unfortunately, forcing reporters to defend their own coverage has not been working well (and indeed, they’re a little busy right now). Moreover, too few people read The New York Review of Books, and since its publication almost two weeks ago, Schell’s piece has not drawn much attention. And while McLeary’s dispatches were great, they were not made available in a forum that would draw much attention from non-journalists. So who can get the word out?

      The media critics, that’s who. I suggest that news organizations send their best — their Shafers, their Carrs, their Kurtzes and Kurts — to Iraq for a few weeks or even months (longer than Laura Ingraham’s eight-day stay — not to disparage any length of time spent risking life and limb in Iraq. Ingraham, paying attention?). The result: on-the-ground-reporting on the on-the-ground reporting.

    ISO: Photo Editor

    Look, we understand that the Post has had its fair share of problems lately and they’re eager to get more people to read their newspaper.

    But, really: Is making a picture of two French cops with their hands either a.) in a protester’s derriere or b.) resting firmly on his crotch the best way to sell more papers (even if it does work for Vanity Fair)?