FishbowlNY TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser GalleyCat SocialTimes

Archives: February 2009

Trib Broadcasting DC Bureau Closing, Kerry Luft Named Bureau Chief for Print

FBDC has obtained an email confirming details about the future of the Chicago Tribune’s DC News Bureau. Read on:

Today we made the difficult decision to cease broadcast operations at our Washington News Bureau effective next month. The broadcast news staff was informed earlier today. As consumers find more and more places from which to get their national news, the need for the company to maintain its own dedicated broadcasting presence in Washington has diminished considerably. Going forward, we expect to rely on existing internal resources and our news-sharing arrangement with CNN to service our television stations when covering Washington-based news.

Cissy Baker, who ran the broadcast side of the bureau since its inception and has been instrumental in its success over the years, will be leaving the company. We thank her for her dedication and her innumerable contributions to the company.

Publishing operations at the bureau will continue as usual. Veteran journalist Kerry Luft has been promoted to bureau chief and will be moving to Washington from Chicago.

Many of you already know Kerry-he joined the Chicago Tribune full-time in 1986, after working there as an intern and part-time while in college. He has served in a variety of reporting and editing positions and most recently has been associate managing editor for foreign and national news. He also has served as national editor, foreign editor, sports editor for enterprise and deputy metropolitan editor for suburban and political coverage. From 1994 to 1996 he was a foreign correspondent based in Brazil.

I know you’ll give Kerry your full support in the weeks ahead.

Bob Gremillion

Any Reason for a White House Jester?

Funny guy and “Reason Gone Mad” blogger Bill Shein has a job application in at the White House, but like a jobless DC journo dumped after Inauguration, has yet to hear back on its status. He’s applied to be the nation’s first “White House Fellow for Humorous Affairs” and has sent this letter to the President.

What makes you qualified to be “presidential jester”? On my home planet, everyone was like me, so my jester skills were nothing special. But when I arrived here in my intergalactic clown car- launched just moments before my planet exploded in a ball of fire, absurdly large shoes, and pointy, bell-laden hats- I quickly discovered that I’m different from you earth people.

Who’s your biggest competition for the position? I’ve heard that Tim Geithner does a hilarious impersonation of that elf who wants to be a dentist in “Rudolph.” And the “Draft Bobby Jindal for Presidential Jester” movement has been gaining steam, which makes sense, no?

Why wasn’t such a position needed in the Bush administration? Wait. Wasn’t that Alberto Gonzales’ job? I’m confused.

Have you ever dressed as Nancy Pelosi or any other political figure before? To date, only Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But that goes with the territory when you’re founding editor of the “Mitch McConnell is One Fine-Looking Man” fanzine.

Isn’t it Reggie Love’s job to hang out with the President?
Yeah, but he’s too big to be a good presidential jester. I mean, the guy is what, nine feet tall? Four hundred pounds? Can bench press the soda machine outside Axelrod’s office? Jesters have to be thin and wimpy, like me and Geithner, so people aren’t afraid to laugh. Reggie’s got a nice smile, but he’s enormous. I think he’d crush me like a bug if I laughed at him. That doesn’t fly in jester-land.

What’s the status of your job application? No word yet, but I’m optimistic. Deep inside the president’s budget proposal is a line item called “Revenue from Sales of Presidential Jester Action Figures (Less Shein Royalties).” By 2012, he’s projecting $46 billion a year. So I’m confident. And the response from the talking heads has been positive. Sean Hannity’s a big fan. A really big fan, actually. (Sean, if you’re reading this: Stop calling me at home late at night. You’re creeping me out.)

Do you have a history of hidden tax problems? If I told you, they wouldn’t stay “hidden,” now would they? But yes, of course I do. Far too many to list. It’s a prerequisite for White House service. Fortunately, last fall I declared my PayPal account to be a “bank” and received sufficient bailout funds to settle up with the IRS. In any event, does the position of presidential jester need Senate confirmation? I don’t think so. Though if it does, that will be a really, really fun day on the Hill.

Sanfuentes Named NBC Deputy Bureau Chief

FBDC has learned Antoine Sanfuentes has been named Deputy Bureau Chief of the Washington Bureau of NBC News, as announced this morning by Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker. Sanfuentes replaces Wendy Wilkinson.

Sanfuentes was previously the Senior White House Producer. Congratulations Antoine!

Katie at the White House, Featuring Knoller, Reid, Gibson & King

Katie Couric was behind the scenes at the White House this week, or as her colleague Mark Knoller puts it, “more under the scenes.”

On how small the booth is, White House correspondent Chip Reid jokes, “I pretty much know how long its been since Mark’s showered.”

Morning Reading List 02.27.09

Good Morning FishbowlDC!

Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line or let us know in the tips box below.

Its day 39 covering the Obama administration and the end of week 4 for us.

What we know and what we’re reading this Friday morning…



FishbowlNY reports Newsday and the San Francisco Chronicle will start charging for online content.

Larry Kramer at the Daily Beast says “people need to get over the notion that quality news only comes on paper.”

Slate’s Jack Shafer calls out WaPo for what it calls the “Bogus Trend Story of the Week” for a piece headlined “Climate Fears Are Driving ‘Economigration’ Across the Globe.”


Jon Friedman at Marketwatch’s Media Web asks is the calm Rachel Maddow overshadowing the “bombastic” Chris Matthews on MSNBC?


Fortune Magazine’s Barney Gimbel is leaving the magazine amid charges of plagiarism that have caused the mag to issue an apology in the March 9th issue. The apology from the New York Observer: “In our Feb. 2 issue we published a story about Lukoil and its president titled “Russia’s King of Crude. We have since discovered that several passages were lifted from “The Triumph of the Quiet Tycoon,” written by Peter Maass and published in the New York Times Sunday Magazine on Aug. 1, 2004. Fortune apologizes to Mr. Maass and the New York Times Sunday Magazine.”


Another “Top 10 most influential DC Twitterers” list… this one from “Cheeky Fresh.” This list promises “people who are truly influential- “twinfluential” if you will.”


The Senate voted yesterday to ban the return of the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine.

Politics magazine is accepting nominations for its list of Rising Stars of politics. Deadline is April 10th and nominations can be made here.

HAT TIPS: Mediabistro, Romanesko, Playbook

Former NPR Editor Nabbed On Child Porn Charges

The Smoking Gun reports that David Malakoff (46), former science editor and an on-air correspondent for NPR, has been named in a felony criminal information for posession of child pornography.


Malakoff resigned from his job last June, according to NPR spokesperson Anna Christopher. Prior to his gig at NPR, Malakoff reported at Science magazine, freelance journalist, nonprofit fundraiser, and director of an ecological research organization.

Check out TSG for more details about Malakoff’s alleged criminal activity.

This is the second member of the DC media to be named in child porn posession charges this month. The first was Fox Newser Aaron Bruns.

UPDATE: Malakoff’s Facebook status update as of 6:40pm today: “David Malakoff is thankful for all the compassionate and accepting friends in his life.”

Taking Out the Trash

What we almost missed today…

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced today that for the first time in American history the families of fallen military officers would have a choice in whether or not the media could photograph flag-draped caskets. The lifted ban was put in place in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush.

60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt remembers Edward R. Murrow and comments on the industry today on HuffPost. “Is it different now? Not all that different. Murrow and Friendly gave us something to measure up to. And, by and large, broadcasting has measured up. One of the things that’s different now is that being a television journalist (or a print journalist, for that matter) is a better way to earn a living than it used to be. Guys who were known as “ink-stained wretches” when I started out… now have weekend houses and kids in private school and more and more of the best reporters and editors are- at long last- women who have the same determination to cover a story without fear or favor as the best of their predecessors did, even though not one of them ever made the Murrow team…”

Sammon and Boughton Officially Upped at Fox News

What we told you earlier was likely to happen is official this evening.

Fox News has announced Bill Sammon Washington Managing Editor and Bryan Boughton Washington Bureau Chief. Sammon has some big shoes to fill- Brit Hume previously held this position.

Executive VP John Moody‘s memo to the staff from Politico after the jump.

Read more

MTP #1, Face See Highest Ratings Since 2005

From TVNewser: Meet the Press with David Gregory was again the #1 public affairs show last Sunday, with more than 4 million Total Viewers. But CBS (#2 this week) and ABC (#3) are gaining. When compared to last February, Face the Nation is up nearly 1 million viewers while This Week gained nearly half a million.

The Bob Schieffer-moderated show on CBS had its best outing in Total Viewers in more than four years (since Jan. 23, 2005)

For Sunday, Feb. 22:

Meet the Press – 4.14 million Total Viewers
Face the Nation – 3.64 million
This Week – 3.52 million
Fox News Sunday – 1.51 million

By comparison, here’s how the Sunday morning shows finished Feb. ’08, as the Presidential nominations heated up:

Meet the Press – 4.56 million Total Viewers
This Week – 3.06 million
Face the Nation – 2.65 million
Fox News Sunday – 1.66 million

Mark Your Calendars!

Who: Media professionals

What: Drinks + conversation

When: Thursday, March 5, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Where: Porter’s 1207 19th Street NW

Why: To bring about greater community among media professionals and to meet some of our instructors who will be teaching seminars in D.C. this spring!

Hosted by: D.C. party hosts Mischa Bergeron
and Marc Pultuskier along with FBDC.