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Does Howell Finally Get It?

A week after the Ben Domenech debacle, Post ombudsman Deborah Howell finally figures out that it’s not actually acceptable to offer as an excuse “Oh, Washingtonpost.com isn’t part of the Washington Post.”

Her column yesterday talks about the launch of the Post’s new radio station, and says, “All three Posts are under different management, but to most readers or listeners, The Post is The Post is The Post…. No matter what the medium, the message from readers (and I expect soon from listeners) is that Post journalism is expected to be of the highest quality.”

So Howell offers up her own suggestions for reporters on dealing with the Post’s multi-platform news process: “Here is commonsensical advice for reporters who go on television or radio or do live chats.

  • “Don’t say anything live you would not write in the paper. Don’t speculate without a sound basis in fact.

  • “Don’t try to be ironic or sarcastic; it’s always misinterpreted. Humor only works if it’s light and at no one’s expense but your own.

  • “A relaxed manner is good for chats, but watch you don’t come off as unprofessional.

  • “You’re a reporter for a top-notch outfit. Act like it.”

So there you have it. Anyone have similar suggestions on Howell can do her job better? Like, for instance, “Remember you’re not supposed to be an apologist for everything the Post does”?

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