TVNewser FishbowlNY AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote PRNewser SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Archives: November 2012

National Press Club Hosts Festive Holiday Party

By Eddie Scarry and Betsy Rothstein

The National Press Club hosted it’s annual please-become-a-member party holiday soirée on Wednesday.

“There are plenty of hors d’oeuvres and an open bar,” the extremely friendly staff of the NPC told us when we walked in. The host was right. In addition to the elaborate display of food that included grilled pork stuffed with apricots, onions and herbs, quail, sausage (pictured below), dumplings, chicken wings and an entire room full of desserts and an open bar was a piano that played Christmas tunes on its own and a TV screen that for some reason only displayed an image of a grinning CBS News’ Bob Schieffer.

Asked to address the current state of journalism, NPC Club President and freelance journalist Theresa Werner said, “I think it’s in constant transition as we are trying to find ourselves in this every changing landscape. I just don’t think we have found what we are going to be. We are in growing pains.” She added that the NPC wanted to do everything in its capacity to ease that constantly moving landscape for journalists.

Some guests came decked out in Christmas attire — snowman ties and such. Many of the female guests showed up with the most gigantic jewels we’ve ever seen — one woman wore a huge cross around her neck that looked like it could double as an anchor for the Titanic.

Over the course of the evening, NPC staff and board members spread out over the holiday fest that occupied three rooms and chatted up guests about becoming members.

Prizes raffled:

  • A Powerball ticket with five chances to win the $550 billion jackpot.
  • Two sets of James Taylor newsmaker luncheon tickets for next week.
  • Signed bottle of Jack Daniels
  • Chef Spike Mendelsohn cookbook

Journalists in attendance: RCP‘s Erin McPike, Jen Koons, formerly of National Journal, National Journal‘s Amy Harder, and Thomas Burr of the Salt Lake Tribune. Pictured above L to R: Joel Whitaker, Secretary of the NPC and Kyle Eggerding, a consultant for Dumhumy USA.

Overheard: “I like the mustache.”– a  partygoer to Joshua Funk, director of business development at NPC. Funk grew and maintained a mustache for the full month of November for charity purposes. And another: “I hate when they don’t have obvious places to put shit.” — partygoer who shall remain anonymous.

On a side note… Eddie showed off his social skills by chatting with Joel Porter of the American League of Lobbyists. Joel and Eddie had met months before. Unfortunately neither initially had any recollection of it. Eddie told Joel that he’d met someone else who worked at the same place and had the exact same job. “That was me!” Joel ultimately told him.

The sights and fashions of the NPC party… Read more

Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101

Freelancing 101Manage a top-notch freelancing career in our online boot camp, Freelancing 101! Starting August 18, freelancing experts will teach you the best practices for a solid freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your own schedule and managing clients.  Register now! 
 

Politico Announces Changes in Gargantuan Memo

Politico‘s Editor-in-Chief John Harris sent a vast memo to staff this afternoon saluting them on their successes and detailing changes to come.

The takeaways: Politico Pro Managing Editor Tim Grieve (the one with a bit of a hilarious temper issue) will now be dealing mainly with platforms not people. (If you hear screams of Halleluja coming from Rosslyn this afternoon, this is why). Like Grieve, Craig Gordon also has the title of Politico Managing Editor. Looks like he’ll be manning the daily operation because he will be “managing content” (i.e. TALKING with people, so hopefully he’s a human being.). Both men will report to Danielle Jones who has been promoted to Deputy Editor-in-Chief. We love this line: “As is obvious from these descriptions, Craig and Tim will work together hand-in-glove, since there is no platform without great content, and no content without a great platform.” (Craig, we hope your self-esteem is intact.) The other big whopper is that beloved Bill Nichols will move into an “editor-at-large” role in which he will serve as the publication’s ombudsman. VandeHarris, for their part, will continue to do what they do — they will fearlesly lead the team and write whenever possible. But read between the lines: “John will continue to dedicate most of his time to directing editorial coverage; Jim will continue to dedicate most of his time to the broader strategic direction of the company; and both of us will continue to write as often as we can.” We’re hearing strong murmurings that the pair is beginning the process of moving off strict day-to-day editorial management.

See the full memo. It’s a long one. Get some popcorn… Read more

Twitter Reacts To Fournier’s Parenting Piece

I’ll say this about this piece by National Journal’s Ron Fournier: It was honest. The lengthy story, which chronicled the relationship he’s had with his son is undoubtedly a tough, emotional read. Fournier readily admits he hasn’t been a great father. I cringed when I read this part about Fournier agreeing to not force his child to play sports anymore. His son, Tyler, hated sports. But, Fournier made him participate for YEARS.

“By the time he reached his teens, he could sense that something was amiss. After a dozen years of butting heads about sports, which he had come to hate, Tyler and I struck a deal. He could give up sports if he promised to exercise three days a week and join an extracurricular club in school. We were sitting on the sofa in the family room when he grabbed my hand and shook it. ‘You got a deal,’ Tyler said. Then he grew quiet. I asked what was wrong. ‘I was afraid you wouldn’t like me as much if I stopped playing sports.’”

While it’s a fascinating read, it does come across as a peek inside the therapy sessions that Fournier’s kid will be having in a matter of years. It’s all so….  public. Sometimes, the best writing is the most difficult to read. In this case, I just came away hoping that Fournier had learned from his past mistakes.

The story made the rounds throughout the day on Friday, Twitter reacted, with many effusively praising Fournier… Read more

Fish Food

A sprinkling of things we think you ought to know…

Washingtonians are happy, even if they are alcoholics– A WaPo poll of workers in the D.C. metro area found that most of them (88 percent) described themselves as “very happy” or “pretty happy.” Roughly the same number of people described their jobs as “rewarding.” Another interesting bit: Most respondents (54 percent) said they “never really stop working.”

Fournier has a lot of presidential access– A story published late last night in NJ made quick rounds on Twitter through this morning. It’s a first person account by the publication’s editor-in-chief Ron Fournier on how he learned to fully accept that his son, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is different. The overall consensus is that it’s a touching story, just in time for the holidays. Politico‘s Ben White called it “especially beautiful.” FNC’s Bret Baier called it “a great story” that’s “worth the time.” On the other hand, FBDC’s Peter Ogburn had his own concerns. “Most of it left me wondering how in the hell he hooked up a meeting with his son and three presidents,” he said. In Fournier’s story, he recounts how he introduced his son to President Obama and former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

HuffPost blogger rails on NYT‘s Maureen Dowd– The name Geoffrey Dunn rings no memory bells as to who he is. But a column he posted on HuffPost yesterday is worth the read if for nothing more than to count the number of ways he can insult NYT‘s Maureen Dowd. A few choice adjectives in his post regarding Dowd: “breezy,” “cynical,” “name-dropping,” and “glib.” He calls her “The Mean One.” And despite Dunn bearing a vague resemblance to any given pewter item on the “Antique Roadshow,” Dunn notes that he’s “a few years younger than Dowd.” Ouch.

Donald Trump cancels Senate bid– Oops, we mean RedState Editor Erick Erickson cancels Senate bid. Our mistake. After suggesting on his radio program earlier this week that he might challenge Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) for his Senate seat, Erickson has pulled out faster than a high school boy on prom night. And he did so with a grand flair that would make Liberace blush. “I’m not putting my family through that,” Erickson writes, “when the best outcome would mean a sizable pay cut and being away from my kids and wife all the time huddled in a pit of vipers often surrounded by too many who viewed me as a useful instrument to their own advancement.” Shorter version: Tricked you!

ABC’s Scandal Portrays Voter Fraud As Fox News Wishes It Were: Vast, Consequential

If you could visualize the moist dream of several FNC anchors it would look a lot like last night’s episode of ABC’s political drama Scandal.

In the episode, a news reporter comes out of retirement and quickly learns that the sitting president won his election through a vast voter fraud conspiracy in swing-state Ohio.

How it happens in the drama: James, husband to White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene, receives a tip from the U.S. Attorney’s office that voting machines in a crucial Ohio county may have been rigged to swing the presidential election. James flies to the appropriately named Defiance County, Ohio, to investigate. He learns that indeed the memory cards in the machines had been tampered with by oil tycoon Hollis Doyle. Doyle needed the president’s victory as a way to secure approval for a pipeline to be built through the middle of the country.

Here’s how this would actually happen in real life and it involves Sean Hannity… Read more

Ask Piranhamous Anything

Today we have another installment of: “Ask Piranhamous Anything.” And we do mean anything. Send your queries to FishbowlDC@mediabistro.com. This isn’t an advice column — Piranhamous doesn’t know what the hell you should do with your life any more than you do — and worse, he doesn’t care. Try to keep your questions short — we want to keep this fun, simple and insightful. 

1. Which morning shows do you watch, if any? 

Is there any morning show worth a damn? When I want some news I’ll watch MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” but Mika’s Nancy Reagan-esque way of staring at Joe gets a little creepy after a while. Seriously, what’s up with that? However, when I know I’ll have difficulty getting out of bed, I’ll set the TV to turn on to Fox & Friends and hide the remote so I’ll have to physically get out of bed to change the channel to avoid vomiting. So the answer is I watch two morning shows but for different reasons.

2. What is your guilty pleasure website or publication to read? 

I have a couple. Rotten Tomatoes for weekend planning and Huffington Post or The Daily Caller for side-boob. I also accidentally get some news there too, but it’s really all about the slide shows of nip-slips, crotch-shots and generally human train-wreck stories.

3. The Daily Caller‘s Rose Garden interrupter Neil Munro covered a transvestite this week. The husband learned his “wife” was really born a man. From White House coverage to this. Thoughts? 

Is there really that much difference between the two these days? This guy thought he was getting one thing and he got something else, voters thought they were getting a leader and they got Barack Obama. One involves a penis, the other involves a dick; I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which.

Journo Perks: Girly Body Wash, Toothpaste

This week Raptor Strategies’ David Bass went to great lengths to get us the oddest goody bag we’ve ever received. (The delivery guy was running all over my neighborhood in the cold searching for the right address). Not that we’re not grateful, just surprised.

Of course it’s all for a good cause, all the weirdest things are. The Natural Products Assoc. is sponsoring Girls on the Run, a DC 5K on Dec. 2 in Anacostia Park. The event encourages girls in third through eighth grade to “lead joyful, health and confident lives, using a fun, experience-based curriculum, which creatively integrates running.”

Contents of the bag include Girls on the Run bubble bath (pink and sparkly, naturally), Coral White Tea Tree toothpaste (formulated with Above Sea Coral), Burt’s Bee’s Cocoa and Cupuacu butter (don’t ask), nail files that look like matches, a one-week free coupon to City Fitness Gym, and Generosity au de naturelle perfume that we’re afraid to smell.

More info: visit NPAINFO.org.

Media Expert Publishes ‘Bible’

Asked if Paula Broadwell or Jill Kelley could benefit from reading his new book, Brad Phillips said yes, sort of. “There’s an entire section about managing a media crisis,” he told FishbowlDC. But he said he had broader things in mind as opposed to just sex scandals.

After three years, Phillips, editor of the “MrMediaTraining” blog, has finished his first book: The Media Training Bible: 101 Things You Absolutely, Positively Need to Know Before Your Next Interview.

He said the number 101 just sounded more compelling than 95. “It was easy to come up with a few more lessons to meet that number, since some ideas couldn’t be contained in just two pages,” he said.

Phillips calls his book a “Bible” so we put him to the test…

Read more

TWT’s ‘Evil Santa’ May Need Sensitivity Training

As Jennifer Aniston said of Brad Pitt when he trashed his marriage with her in Parade magazine, he’s missing a “sensitivity chip” from his brain. Well TWT‘s new CEO Larry Beasley may also have a chip missing or a screw loose. Take your pick.

This week a Santa with the word “JOY” was displayed on an end table in Beasley’s office the day after news broke of his staff dubbing him “Evil Santa” in the face of layoffs. It does sorta look like Beasley, doesn’t it?

But an even clearer sign of Beasley’s questionable sensitivities to the approximately quarter of the newsroom staff that is expected to be given pink slips: He had a new sofa moved into his executive suite Thursday.

“So while the newsroom is worried about layoffs, the out-of-touch CEO is worried about getting a more comfortable couch,” a TWT insider told FishbowlDC.

Merry Christmas Beasley!

FishbowlDC Interview With Knight Kiplinger

Say hello to Knight Kiplinger, Editor in Chief, Kiplinger publishing (Kiplinger Letters, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, Kiplinger.com). We spoke by phone this morning just after he did his ritualistic yoga exercises. He spends 20 minutes each morning doing stretches and poses to put himself in a good frame of mind. “I don’t watch much TV,” he noted quickly into the call, saying the Fishbowl interview wasn’t necessarily ideal for someone who doesn’t watch a lot of TV. (We’ll keep that in mind.) “I’m not older than dirt, but I came up through newspaper journalism and print journalism so that’s kind of my bias in my news diet.” Asked about the current state of journalism, Kiplinger’s thoughts are enlightening. POLITICO reporters, you may want to stop reading now. “I think we’ve seen the decline of careful consideration, the emphasis is on quick response, the immediate reaction,” Kiplinger said. “The best journalism is not always the fast journalism. The first analysis is often not carefully considered. Good journalism takes time. It takes reporting. We’ve seen a decline of in-depth reporting. A newspaper reporter had eight or ten hours to do hard reporting, deep reporting, talking to many, many sources before writing a story. The internet has forced everyone to work faster and that sometimes undercuts journalistic quality. So that is the problem.” Here’s the point where WaPo‘s Ezra Klein should stop reading. “These days a lot of young journalists, they all want to be columnists, giving the world their opinions,” he said. “Journalists try to build themselves into a brand, into a marketable entity that can move from periodical to periodical. Of course, that’s what columnists have always done.” Kiplinger sees danger signs. “With too much emphasis on celebrity, the content of journalism gets short shrift. A bigger threat to quality journalism is the unwillingness of young adults to pay for journalism. Older adults will still pay for content. They comprise the subscription-paying readership.” Kiplinger still gets two newspapers at home: WaPo and TWT. At the office he reads WSJ and NYT. “I look through them very rapidly,” he says of WaPo and TWT, saying he prefers to read them in print than online and can do so faster. He particularly enjoys WaPo‘s Metro section. He’s also a relentless reader of obituaries. “In my next life I am going to be an obit writer,” he says. Moving along, he has grave concerns about the industry: “Revenue on internet is not sustaining high quality journalism,” he said. But on a positive note, he added, “the internet has given everyone [a medium]…that is a powerful force, a positive force. This trend will continue.” On the future of journalism: “There will be fewer jobs in traditional journalism for young journalists who want to be the reporter, who want to tell the story of modern life. I don’t want to sound like a curmudgeon. We’re in the throws of a great democratization of media. Editing today is a luxury many media feel they can’t afford. You don’t have the level of trust that you once had. Traditional media were gatekeepers to information. They were the mandarins who selected what they thought the public needed to know.” Kiplinger is on Twitter, but he’s not enthralled by it. “Yeah I tweet,” he said. “If you went to my Twitter account you’d see I tweet infrequently. I try to restrain my tweets to kind of broader observations about things going on in the economy. I work very hard to condense and distill. I don’t have a Twitter support staff as a lot of semi-celebrity journalists do.” As an aside, he notes…“There are some people who think I am a celebrity. I just think I’m an ink-stained wretch. I’m not a hyperactive tweeter.” On family…He’s a longtime choral singer and met his wife in the Washington Chorus in 1979. Incidentally, his daughter also met her fiance in the Washington Chorus (a detail reported in WaPo earlier this week). Facebook? “I don’t do Facebook at all. I don’t think the world is that interested in my daily life, and even if they are, I don’t want to share it with them.” Finally, I asked…what one piece of wisdom should every journalist know? He replied, “There’s no substitute for hard reporting.”

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be?  

Schweppes Tonic Water (with real quinine), my teenage favorite, even before I started adding gin.

How often do you Google yourself?

Rarely (Just noticed they now have photos of the search subject, too!)

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)?  

To the owner of the first newspaper I worked for, at 22 years old: “Reporters ought to earn as much as the layout guys with their razor blades and paste pots.”  (He disagreed.)

You have an intriguing name. What is the story behind it?

It was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name (full name: Daphne Knight). No relation to the Knight publishing family, darn it.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why?

David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.  No one explains complex economic issues with more clarity and common sense than Wessel.

Do you have a favorite word?

I’m told I overuse “unconscionable,” so maybe that’s it.

Who would you rather have dinner with – CNN’s Candy Crowley, ABC’s Martha Raddatz or Fox News’ Megyn Kelly? Tell us why.

I’m sure each of them would be a fine dinner companion, but I’d rather dine with Renee Montagne of NPR, co-host of “Morning Edition.”  She’s a brainy journalist (Phi Beta from Berkeley), award-winning correspondent in South Africa and Afghanistan, adept anchor—and she sounds like a very nice person (based on interviews I hear regularly, and ones I’ve done with her while I was in the DC studio and she was at NPR West in California).

The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Scandal’s Kerry Washington, any of the women from FNC’s “The Five” or MSNBC’s S.E. Cupp. Who will it be? (None is not an option.)

I don’t know any of these women on sight (don’t watch much TV), so you pick one for my blind date, and I’m sure she and I will be able to save the Earth together. [Okay, we'll play your game. We pick Helen Thomas. That's what you get for not answering.]

What swear word do you use most often? “Damn!”…used sparingly.

You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.)

Cokie Roberts, David Frum, Kathleen Parker, David Brooks. (Back-ups for when someone is traveling or out sick: Peggy Noonan and E. J. Dionne.)

On a serious note for a moment, if you could have dinner with a person who has died, who would it be?

My zany and wise mother, Gogo Kiplinger (1919-2007)

Read more

NEXT PAGE >>