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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Alexander’

Morning Reading List 07.20.09

Good morning FishbowlDC!

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Happy Birthday to CNN’s Ed Henry. What we know and what we’re reading this Monday morning…



Just a few notes on WaPo salons… Politico takes note of Bob Woodward‘s appearance on Charlie Rose- “Sure it was a mistake,” Woodward told Rose. “It’s been acknowledged. The publisher and the editor have kind of — not kind of — it’s a no excuses apology. They’ve tried to explain how it happened and I think they have.”

Ombudsman Andrew Alexander in Sunday’s WaPo- Adapting Ethics Rules to a New World.


How are MSNBC’s newest anchors Dylan Ratigan and Dr. Nancy Snyderman doing so far? Ehh… “To date, both shows have attracted plenty of media attention and generated headlines. But, at the same time, both shows have struggled to attract the young viewers coveted by advertisers.” More from NYO here.

Remember Lindsey Mastis, the local WUSA-9 reporter who was given a hard time by the Real World crews? Well, she got an official apology from an MTV cameraman. Check out the groveling here.


SIRIUS XM Radio’s POTUS channel will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing by broadcasting live from the National Air and Space Museum from noon to 3pmET today. POTUS airs on SIRIUS channel 110 and XM channel 130.


A different perspective on the first 100 days of… Bo the dog.

Merriam-Webster has added a definition of the term “earmark” to the latest edition of its dictionary: “A provision in congressional legislation that allocates a specified amount of money for a specific project, program or organization.” (h/t LAT)

Howard Kurtz in today’s WaPo Media Notes: While Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings drew plenty of coverage last week, the level of media excitement hardly matched that surrounding Mark Sanford’s Argentine affair, Sarah Palin’s Alaskan exit or Michael Jackson’s untimely departure.

Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reports that Congressional galleries accredit 19 percent fewer reporters from mainstream newspapers and wire services than in 2008 (h/t Politico).

HAT TIPS: mediabistro, Politico

NEW NOTES and JOBS after the jump…

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Editors Offer WaPo Words Of Wisdom

“If you were advising Weymouth and her senior managers, what would you tell them?”

That’s the question WaPo ombudsman Andrew Alexander poses on his blog, soliciting advice from veteran editors from publications such as the Sacramento Bee, LAT and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. An excerpt:

Ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute

DON’T RETREAT: “Don’t let this stop you from continuing to be bold in pursuit of new revenue, even in convening events.”

CROSS POLLINATE: “Start to work on cross pollination within the company. Large newsrooms are traditionally isolated from the rest of the company. In the past that made sense because it protected and insulated our best asset. Now we have to figure out how to leverage our best asset without undermining our core values. Creating a company-wide culture where everyone understands the core values, the various missions of different departments, will go a long way. I don’t think you have to do it with silly retreats and goofy internal training. But getting top managers together on a regular basis and having them all spend time in each other’s departments is important.”

Read the rest of their good advice here.

Washingtonian‘s Cathy Merrill Williams Defends WaPo‘s Weymouth

On her Facebook profile, Washingtonian President and Publisher Cathy Merrill Williams has posted a letter applauding WaPo‘s Weymouth for her attempt to find new revenue streams and for trying something new re: the “salon” scandals. Her post below or visit it on Facebook here.

New Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth has been taking a lot of flak from journalists and press junkies. Weymouth and her team at the Washington Post proposed to host off-the-record dinners at her home paid for by a sponsor. These “salon” events were ridiculed in the press as selling access for power and damaging the reputation of the venerable Washington Post.

For all of the bad press she and her editor Marcus Brauchli are getting, I see great hope. I for one am betting on the 43-year-old publisher to reinvent an institution in an industry that is crumbling.

She tried something new. Was it a well thought-out and properly executed plan? No, not even close. But she tried something new. All businesses make mistakes especially when searching for a new business model. RH Macy’s went bankrupt 5 times before it succeeded. Hershey and Disney also initially failed spectacularly, leaving debtors out in the cold.

Weymouth has to keep trying new things because the newspaper lost $25 million last year. As Atlantic owner David Bradley and his own salons were pulled into the debate, he had it right: “As the whole of our enterprise surely knows, the economic foundation beneath journalism is falling away. The imperative…is to rebuild journalism on different financial pillars.” So she is going to likely have to fail a few more times to succeed.

There has been a lot of sanctimony from journalists inside and outside the Washington Post. I suspect it is easier to be sanctimonious if you are not the one that has to pay the rent (or your own pay check). The Post’s Ombudsman Andrew Alexander wrote a 2788 word piece this past Sunday ripping apart the entire management team at the Post all while noting that only 2 readers have canceled subscriptions because of it. This is naval gazing at its worst.

The rest after the jump…

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WaPo Ombudsman On “Salons”: “An Ethical Lapse Of Monumental Proportions”

WaPo ombudsman Andrew Alexander tackled the “salon” scandal in this Sunday’s paper. Alexander cites Charles Pelton, general manager of a new Washington Post Conferences & Events business, as a “key player in the controversy” and said that when the flier was disclosed, Marcus Brauchli and Katharine Weymouth “say they were stunned.”

While Brauchli and Weymouth say they should have realized long ago that the plan was flawed, internal e-mails and interviews show questions about ethics were raised with both of them months ago. They also show that blame runs deeper. Beneath Brauchli and Weymouth, three of the most senior newsroom managers received an e-mail with details of the plan.

Lower down, others inside and outside the newsroom were aware that sponsored events would involve news personnel in off-the-record settings, although they lacked details. Several now say they didn’t speak up because they assumed top managers would eventually ensure that traditional ethics boundaries would not be breached.

Neither Weymouth nor Brauchli can recall anyone raising concerns, although both say they wish someone had.

Alexander’s piece reveals that Brauchli weighed in with managing editors Raju Narisetti and Liz Spayd and deputy managing editor Milton Coleman. Both Narisetti and Coleman questioned using Weymouth’s house and committing to a beat reporter.

Brauchli tells Alexander: “When the publisher and the editor both appear to have signed off on an idea, I think it is perhaps true that a certain complacency sets in,” he said. For that reason, lower-level managers might be less inclined “to stand up and say: ‘Whoa, this is a bad idea.’”

Read Alexander’s piece in entirety here.

Also on this topic, CJR: Salons Under Scrutiny: Examining the ethics of sponsored, off-the-record events.

WaPo Ombudsman To Address Salon Story More In-Depth This Sunday

You can expect to hear more about the WaPo salon debacle in this weekend’s paper. Editor & Publisher reports ombudsman Andrew Alexander will tackle the issue in an “expanded column” for Sunday. E&P also points out Alexander has blogged about the issue twice, but has yet to write about it in the actual paper. Alexander told E&P that he did not address the issue in his column last Sunday because he did not have time to do a full report. “It had to do with holiday early page closings and addressing it in a meaningful way,” he tells E&P.

WaPo ‘Salon’ Follow-Up: Weymouth Reacts, Ombudsman Weighs In, Gibbs Asked

WaPo publisher Katharine Weymouth responded to Politico‘s earlier ‘salon’ report in an interview with colleague Howard Kurtz. “Absolutely, I’m disappointed,” she said. “This should never have happened. The fliers got out and weren’t vetted. They didn’t represent at all what we were attempting to do. We’re not going to do any dinners that would impugn the integrity of the newsroom.”

Kurtz additionally heard from executive editor Marcus Brauchli. “It suggests that access to Washington Post journalists was available for purchase,” Brauchli said. The proposal “promises we would suspend our usual skeptical questioning because it appears to offer, in exchange for sponsorships, the good name of The Washington Post.”

WaPo ombudsman Andrew Alexander also weighed in, calling the paper’s ‘salon’ plan a “public relations disaster.” On Omblog, Alexander describes Politico‘s Mike Allen‘s reporting as accurate and he outlines the situation citing Brauchli and Charles Pelton, who he says “joined The Post recently to find ways to generate business through conferences and events.” Alexander’s blog post also includes feedback from angered and disppointed readers.

• The topic was also brought up in White House press secretary Robert Gibbs‘ daily briefing. He was asked if anyone from the administration had been invited to attend the WaPo ‘salon’ and what the White House’s official policy was on such events. Check out his response via Politico video below:

WaPo Ombudsman Addresses Concerns About The Paper’s Quality Amidst Recent Changes

In Sunday’s paper, WaPo ombudsman Andrew Alexander addressed readers’ concerns of compromised quality, less watchdog reporting and less depth, amidst announcements of recent changes. He assures readers that while staff morale may seem low, that commitment remains high. “There’s anxiety, but immense pride. Most view the changes as painful but necessary. Some say they’re overdue. I agree,” Alexander writes.

In the piece, WaPo executive editor Marcus Brauchli said he expects “some diminution of quality.” “This is a year of exceptional changes,” he said. “We’re willing to endure some distraction in the short term in order to be stronger in the long term.”

And Dana Priest (who Alexander points out is a Pulitzer Prize-winning report for the Post): “We are journalists not because of the good pay or the bankers’ hours, but because we love The Washington Post and its role in making the country stronger and better. Those motivations are not going to disappear. They will just compete with the chaos of a transition from the present to what is at the other end of this long, dark media industry tunnel.”

WaPo Debuts “The Omblog”

This week, WaPo introduced another blog to their growing online portfolio. The Omblog will be headlined by none other than WaPo’s ombudsman, Andrew Alexander. WaPo says the new blog “will serve as a place for discussion about what’s in The Post, both in print and online, as well as questions that news media more broadly are grappling with.”

Register complaints, concerns and compliments at The Omblog.

WaPo’s Ombudsman: “The Road Will Get Bumpy on Monday”

How to read WaPo Monday:

The daily Business section is being folded into the A section. Daily stock listings will be trimmed. Six comics and several games will move online. The television schedule will be reduced.

But “why are you doing this to my newspaper?” WaPo’s ombudsman Andrew Alexander explained in Sunday’s paper that the core reason was to save money. “A single page of newsprint in the daily Post, with its 650,000 circulation, costs roughly $2,500. A single page on Sundays, with its 870,000 circulation, costs about $3,500. Shaving two pages from each daily and Sunday paper can save close to $2 million a year.” Stock listings, comics, games and television listings were what Alexander called easy targets.

More from Alexander:

There are more changes coming for the newspaper. A major redesign is in the works. Post readers should keep their seatbelts fastened. And Post editors can provide a smoother ride by explaining not just what, but why.

Lack of Diversity on WaPo Editorial Pages?

A letter to the editor in this weekend’s paper raises the question is there a lack of diversity on WaPo’s Sunday editorial pages?

Sunday’s editorial pages are presumably the most-read of the week. They should represent the most critical and varied thinking of the week and set the standard for editorial pages. Help me understand the thinking behind the selection of the March 15 writers:

Eleven white guys, one white woman. At least six are more than 60 years old. Four are elected Republicans, but none are elected Democrats, even though the Senate, the House and the White House plus a majority of the governorships are controlled by Democrats. I do not remember Democrats being overrepresented on your pages during their “wilderness years.” Quite the opposite.

Also in this Sunday’s Post, WaPo’s ombudsman Andrew Alexander points out “a corrections process in need of correcting,” reporting that the paper has a backlog of correction requests dating back to 2004. The good news, he points out, is that managing editor Raju Narisetti is aware of the problem. He says, “As new and faster forms of disseminating information become popular — live Tweets from events, for example — we owe it to our audiences to . . . make sure we are delivering fast and accurate information…”

Read the rest of Alexander’s piece here.