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Archives: May 2006

Taking Out The Trash, 05.31.06

Nine hours of “The Capitol“…here we come.

  • Don’t forget to let us know who won’t be repeating as “Hottest Media Types”

  • Term limits for journalists?

  • Couric’s days at WRC recalled

  • The media tries getting Tony Snow to play a little Abbott & Costello:

      Q The President had spoken about this Iran policy with Merkel, Putin, Chirac, and — who else?

      Q Blair.

      Q Blair.

      MR. SNOW: Blair, Merkel, yes.

      Q So why not Hu?

  • Read the Note’s impressive tribute to Ron Fournier (who, by the way, is remaining very tight-lipped about this “Internet start-up” he’s leaving for…)

  • Sit. Room Narrows Gap With FNC

  • What does “trying too hard to be hip look like”? Or what is it like to be the last one on the trend bandwagon?

    Look no further than today’s Washington Post 2000 word story on the “wingman” phenomenon:


    As Gawker puts it: “‘Washington Post’ Discovers the Wingman; Circ Keeps Falling”

  • And happy one year anniversary, Daily Nightly.

  • Mediabistro Course

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    English Al-Jazeera On Again, Off Again Launch Date

    With a staff nearing 120 in the new Washington, DC, bureau, Al-Jazeera International, aka AJI, originally planned its first worldwide broadcast last fall with the intention of competing against the likes of BBC, CNN and Fox.

    Then we heard it would be April. No, wait a minute, sometime this month or later this summer? Or…how about no earlier than September?

    And so it goes with the new English language news network run by the controversial Arab-language Al-Jazeera news network. The satellite television empire is owned by the emir of Qatar, ruler of the postage-stamp country on the Persian Gulf and a key US ally in Iraq war.

    It’s not because staff is taking advantage of the generous seven weeks vacation plans en mass that the network gives them. (The money’s not bad, either.)

    It’s because technical difficulties keep interrupting the debut broadcast, according to former ABC Nightline correspondent Dave Marash, who heads the new AJI bureau in DC that fills four office floors on the 1600 block of K Street.

    “They’re still completing the physical structure, the newsrooms, the studios, and all of the fiber-optic wire links between them, and it’s taking a them a lot longer than advertised,” Marash told The New York Sun‘s Josh Gerstein.

    Marash predicts the network will be “state of the art,” when work is complete and packaging the news in cutting-edge, high-definition video.

    Reporter Gerstein also relates Al-Jazeera’s ongoing startup delays caused by problems in outfitting and connecting the network’s broadcast centers in Washington; London; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Doha, Qatar.

    More when you click below…

    Read more

    Network News Heads for the Web

    What’s in the future for network television news?

    The Web.

    That was the verdict of Tom Rosenstiel, Director, Project for Excellence in Journalism, and media analyst Andrew Tyndall, founder of ADT Research; and publisher of The Tyndall Report.

    The dynamic duo gabbed about the state of network television news Wednesday on WAMU-FM’s noontime talk show, The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

    Here’s just two points they made while looking into their crystal balls….

    1)Death of the News Anchor: Online users are “really the central figure” in deciding what to watch. The anchor “is no longer the connective tissue,” if the user is picking and choosing the story, Rosenstiel said. That means the star of a video report will be the reporter, not the one introducing it — one big incentive for anchors to get into the field more often so viewers remember their mug.

    2)CBS March Madness: Was a seminal event. Offering every college basketball playoff game online allowed users to pick and choose the events they wanted to see. That may have splintered the audience, but the Web audience was HUGE. “Instead of cannibalizing the audience, it created a bigger buzz around the event.” That lesson will be carried over to news, Tyndall predicted.

    Audio available at the Kojo Nnamdi Show.

    Helen Whips Her Claws Out

    You may have missed Helen Thomas’ pointed questioning of Tony Snow yesterday over the appointment of former The American Enterprise Magazine editor Karl Zinmeister as President Bush’s domestic policy adviser:

    QUESTION: Why did the president pick a man who is so contemptible of the public servants in Washington to be his domestic adviser, saying, People in Washington are morally repugnant, cheating, shifty human beings. Why did he…

    SNOW: Apparently an opinion that’s…

    QUESTION: Why would he pick such a man to be a domestic adviser?

    SNOW: You meant contemptuous as opposed to contemptible I think.

    QUESTION: Pure contempt.

    SNOW: I’m not sure it’s pure contempt. I know Karl Zinsmeister pretty well and he is somebody who expresses himself with a certain amount of piquancy. You’re perhaps familiar with that, aren’t you, Helen?


    And so, as a consequence from time to time, he’s going to say — he’ll have some sharp elbows.

    QUESTION: His attitude toward public servants…

    SNOW: I don’t think it is his attitude toward public servants. It may have been toward the press. Just kidding.


    No, look if, you look at the bulk of what Karl Zinsmeister has done at the American Enterprise and elsewhere, I think you’re going to find somebody who’s done some pretty meaty and interesting research on a variety of topics.

    The reason he’s being brought in is that he’s…

    QUESTION: Do you agree with his assessment?

    SNOW: I’m not going to — it is one sentence the guy wrote. And perhaps you may recall — yes?

    QUESTION: Arrogant, morally repugnant, cheating, shifty.

    SNOW: That’s a lot in one sentence, isn’t it? He just packed it right in.

    And if you didn’t catch Helen giving Tony Snow an apple last week, a reader sent in an illustration of what that might have actually looked like. Decide for yourself:


    Nieman Fellows Announced

    Harvard’s Nieman Foundation announced their 2006-7 fellows and a few local folks were honored: (from the release)

    • Gina Acosta, editorial page copy editor at The Washington Post, will study the fiscal consequences of U.S. immigration policy and the participation of ethnic and religious minorities in public life.

    • Claudio Sanchez, national education correspondent for National Public Radio, will study educational policies and practices that have failed Mexican immigrant children — legal and illegal — to better understand why so many are growing up alienated and unskilled.

    • Andrea McCarren, investigative reporter at WJLA-TV, Washington, D.C., will pursue an anthropological study of adolescence in America with an emphasis on the impact of new technology on school violence and gang membership.

    Countdown to “Hottest Media Types”

    hottestmedia.jpgIs it already that time? Is Washington ready for this year’s FishbowlDC’s Hottest Media Types contest?

    Well, it’s not that far off. In fact, in exactly ten weeks from today, FishbowlDC will announce the winners of this year’s contest. That means one thing: Time to get in shape.

    To assist you in your preparation (especially for those self-nominators out there whom we adore), we’ve found a book that just might do the trick: “Flawless : The 10-Week Total Image Method for Transforming Your Physique”.

    It is in that spirit that we present today’s Poll of the Day:

    Who Won’t Repeat As Hottest Media Type?
    Female Off Air: Katie Slaman
    Female On Air: Liz Marlantes
    Male Off Air: John Hendren and Mark Mazzetti
    Male On Air: David Shuster
    Best Dressed: Leon Harris
    Free polls from

    Another AB Stoddard Production

    AB Stoddard took to The Hill recently after years of wandering around the halls of Congress for ABC as an off-air reporter and a brief foray as a monthly CQ pundit.

    Now as a featured columnist, Stoddard’s mission is to perform the talking head TV shtick and promote The Hill’s congressional coverage on a grander stage. It’s already working. She’s been a featured gabber on Fox and Hardball.

    AB honed her reporting on the Congressional three-ring circus — including the Clinton impeachment freak show — at The Hill before joining ABC. Television may be in her blood, though, and don’t be surprised if a network soon sweeps her up. Stoddard’s father helped pioneer the network mini-series. AB may just be the best Brandon Stoddard production, yet.

    This Week’s Fish Serving

    We had our second guest blogger try their hand at Fishbowl-ing last week and we have our third candidate guest blogging this week, all in an effort to find our next permanent member of the FishbowlDC team. You’ll notice their work under the “FishbowlDC” byline. Let us know what you think…

    Today’s Morning Greetings

    How do you spell the White House Press Corps’ pregnant reporter?



    That’s right: The National Spelling Bee begins today in Washington, D.C.

    If you’re able to take your eyes away from the departing (and crying?) Katie Couric this morning, you may also be pleased to know that we finally found out the identify of the White House Press Corps reporter who was in the jury for the Malvo trial: Voice of America’s Scott Stearns. (And ouch: One reader writes in to say, “Regarding the White House press corps’ inability to figure out the identity of the W.H. correspondent in the Muhammed trial. There was a time when reporters figure out stuff like this by going out to the courthouse and looking at the people in the jury box. No wonder these cracker jack reporters hold up in the White House break so few real stories.”)

    Or you could take the kill-two-birds-with-one-stone approach, as done by one tipster: “The pregnant White House correspondent on the Mohammed jury is Helen Thomas.”

    And the majority of you who participated in yesterday’s Poll of the Day felt that Tim Russert should not be hawking his book on other networks.

    Fournier Leaving AP

    AP’s Ron Fournier is leaving journalism to work for an Internet startup (Ron, buddy: That was the 90s).

    With the Associated Press’ stories running in newspapers all over the place, Ron’s significance cannot be overestimated. He was a ture journalism rockstar, which was most obvious during the 2004 election, when he earned the Merriman Smith Award for outstanding presidential coverage under deadline pressure (case in point: he wrote over 67 leads on election night for various stories and write-thrus).

    It also can’t be overestimated how big of a loss this is for AP.

    More of this will be learned later for sure…

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