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Posts Tagged ‘David Jackson’

Sam Youngman’s Goodbye Soirée is ‘The Other Side of This Town’

photo-25A sizable gathering of journos packed into the dimly-lit Oyster Bar of Old Ebbitt Grill last night to bid farewell to Sam Youngman, who’s headed to Lexington, Ky. to shake things up at the Kentucky-Herald Leader.

“It’s so easy to sh-t all over this town, and I will continue to do so with great relish,” Youngman told FishbowlDC by email today. “But last night was a reminder that there are so many wonderful and talented people here, and I’m fortunate to know them.”

Kevin Madden, a CNN Contributor, pointed out last night, “This is the other side of This Town.” You hear that Mark Leibovich?

The party was meticulously organized by CBS Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett, who regularly frequents Old Ebbitt and is something of a star there. (We resisted the terrible urge to give Garrett an impromptu spelling test. He assures that he can spell fairly well, just not in a Spelling Bee format.)

See who showed up. Read more

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With TWT’s Executive Editor Out, Will John Solomon Finally Make The Masthead?

Back in January, after 25 members of TWT newsroom got laid off, John Solomon was named to the elusive role of Chief Digital Officer with Ian Bishop as his deputy in the position of Digital Editor. Bishop made the masthead. Solomon did not. What made matters even more peculiar, is that when Solomon made media appearances, on WTOP for example, they said he was from Washington Guardian, his other news outlet. No mention of TWT.

Even in May of 2013, TWT gave him a bizarre tagline that made no mention of TWT except to say he was a former executive editor there. Was he or wasn’t he working there? His daily doings always appeared to be mired in mystery, even to those on the inside.

Still, now Solomon is getting another boost. Today Larry Beasley, whose contract as President and CEO has been upped until the end of 2015, is promoting him again. At least it sure looks like a promotion — time will tell if they see fit to put him on the masthead. This time, he’s “Editor and Vice President for Content and Business Development.” What this all means is anyone’s guess, as was Solomon’s previous position at TWT. As hilariously explained by Beasley in a statement, this means Solomon is in charge of editorial and business and advertising, because those parts of a newspaper are always supposed to be smushed together as one. No conflict there.

What’s even weirder is that Beasley appears to have no recollection of Solomon’s brusque departure from TWT four years ago as Executive Editor and speaks about his time there as a fairytale dream (all together now: raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…) Most former employees in high editorial posts say he was pushed out, forced to resign. He always insists otherwise.

Just as you think Beasley’s statement will end there, with four graphs and five bullet points inflating Solomon to be the best journalist who ever roamed the Earth (seriously), Beasley casually mentions that Executive Editor David Jackson is gone. HUH? “As part of the recent moves, we’ve said goodbye to some of colleagues, including our Executive Editor David Jackson,” he wrote three graphs from the bottom of the release, one of which throws in yet another compliment for Solomon. “We appreciate the effort he gave us and wish him well in his next endeavor.”

Bye bye Jackson!

See the release with our boldings… Read more

Politico‘s Smashing Party

A hush fell over the crowd at Politico‘s Sunday brunch at Robert and Elena Allbritton‘s home as a display of food came crashing to the ground outside under a tent. No one was standing near enough to be responsible, so it doesn’t look like they’ll be adding any guidelines about idiot party tricks at the boss’s house to the next iteration of their office handbook.

Party sources tell us the fallen food was a display of various Asian cuisine — dumplings, etc, that crashed to the floor. “Nobody laughed, it was more like a collective gasp because it was so loud and shattery-sounding in such genteel surroundings,” a party witness told us.

After the display fell, a small phalanx of capable young women with earpieces swarmed and had it taken care of immediately.

Brunch was saved!

Speaking of which, the food is always a highlight: sliders, different kinds of eggs benedict made to order, cones of tuna tartare, an assortment dumplings, lobster tails, crab legs — all kinds of seafood, and an open bar.

Guests spilled out onto the lawn.

According to our party sources, brunch at the Allbrittons was definitely more crowded this year.

All the big Politicos were there… Read more

TWT in Discussion for More Layoffs

TWT CEO Larry Beasley (a.k.a. “Evil Santa”) and the gang of suits over off New York Avenue are contemplating another deep round of layoffs at the troubled newspaper. Sources say the next axe to fall may not be far off.

The reason: A TWT insider tells FishbowlDC that the publication is bleeding money. More specifically, management was told they had three years to get to zero subsidy from the parent company. Only six months are left on that timetable and TWT is still tens of millions away from breaking even. We’re told management is “cornered and desperate” and doesn’t have many cards to play.

Although Editor David Jackson promised in a Nov. 28 email to staff that impending “reductions in staffing will be a one-time-only process. We do not intend to go through this again” — a statement like in tough times isn’t necessarily full proof.
Plans had been discussed for further cuts later in 2013. Jackson was in those meetings.
This next possible round of cuts is…

TWT Head Honchos Struggle to Catch Leakers

Well, this is awkward.

The Washington Times management is putting thumb screws to the staff to get them to rat out the leakers to FishbowlDC. On the table for consideration: calling each staffer in one by one to ask if they have any knowledge of the leaking. As we already know, Chairman Tom McDevitt has been keeping staffers’ phone records under surveillance to see what calls are coming in and going out.

TWT‘s neverending bastion of bloated suits has, so far, refused to speak to FBDC for any of our coverage. One executive reached out but refused to speak on the record — that was more a lecturing kind of phone call. A teachable moment, some might say. “Don’t you just love a media company that has an absolutely strict policy against ever talking to the press ever?” asked a TWT insider.

The past few weeks has seen a rise in stories concerning The Washington Times as some 25 people were laid off on Friday. Last month, Executive Editor David Jackson warned that a restructuring was coming, but he left out key details — such as when and who. So staffers had to endure the holidays agonizing over whether they’d even have a job come the new year. To recap: Three days later, on Monday, TWT threw staff a newsroom party — oh boy! — and fed them sugary snacks (cookies, cakes and pies) to help ease the pain of an unstable newsroom filled with uncertainty. We’re told some remained at their desks out of loyalty to the departed. At the gabfest, they formally announced that John Solomon, the editor that left under angry circumstances in 2009, was returning full-time in addition to a plate-thrower named Ian Bishop (a real journalist with a favorable rep who comes to them by way of the New York Daily News.) Both men are assuming digital roles.

Here’s where things get strange….At the party, CEO Larry Beasley (a.k.a. “Evil Santa”), who drove up from Florida in his honking motorhome to take the job, joked that someone should… Read more

A Little Birdy Tells Us…

Some staffers at The Washington Times are on pins and needles this morning as management has called a meeting today at 11 a.m. in the auditorium. The heightened nerves stem from a memo last month in which Executive Editor David Jackson announced there would be layoffs. Not everyone at the publication has been invited. Employees were contacted individually. Invitations to the meeting include people from the copy desk, art, national weekly edition and books.

Stay tuned…

UPDATE: We’re also hearing that sports, photo and web desk folks were also summoned to the meeting, and that managers were not informed about any of it.

TWT Editor Lays Out a ‘Vision’

Last month TWT‘s new Executive Editor David Jackson announced to his newsroom that the publication would be taking things in a new, brighter direction that would involve reorganization and layoffs. Today he releases another letter, this time, a “vision” for what’s to come. In it, no word as to which members of the newsroom will soon be let go.

The vision doesn’t sound much different than any other online publication out there. They will be “digital first” (sounds like National Journal, Politico, The Hill, CQ Roll Call, The Atlantic, Slate, WaPo, The Daily Caller and more), they will use social media (we suspect this sounds like EVERYONE), they will keep in touch with what their audience likes through research (Roll Call anyone?), they will create a mobile site (yes, yes, others have done it) and finally, his dramatic last few lines: “We will be a news organization that can be trusted to report important stories that others won’t. We will be The Washington Times 3.0.”

See the full vision statement…

TWT Beefs Up Security, E-mail, Phone Surveillance Amid Impending Layoffs

The Washington Times has bulked up security at the building and hired new guards. Security in the main lobby last week shifted from one guard to three, with another patrolling the parking lot. The reasoning? Sources tell FishbowlDC it’s the impending layoffs. The company consistently beefs up security before layoffs, a TWT insider insists — one of those little details employees notice when they know bad news is coming.

“The last time they did it, they beefed up,” said a former TWT editor on condition of anonymity. “One thing I noticed before, is security would do a building walk through once a day. When it was the weeks before the layoffs, they were walking around the building multiple times a day. It was another reminder that we were waiting for the axe to fall.”

On Nov. 28, Editor David Jackson sent out a company-wide email saying layoffs were imminent but provided few details. See WaPo Erik Wemple‘s report here. In his letter, Jackson announced that there would be a “reduction” and “reorganization” of staff. He wrote, “Reductions in staffing will be a one-time only process. We do not intend to go through this again.” Hardly words of comfort. Ever since that email went out, the newsroom has been on edge waiting for the gauntlet to fall, the noose to tighten, the Grim Reaper to appear (take your pick of terrible metaphors).

If increased security wasn’t indication enough, sources say TWT management has ramped up its surveillance of employees — checking phone logs, monitoring people’s emails and tracking forwarded emails to try to plug leaks. “Everyone is texting because they are afraid to use email,” an employee told FishbowlDC. “It’s complete panic mode. Everyone is trying to stay out of the system. You don’t know when it’s going happen or who it’s going to happen to.”

The aforementioned former editor above also found his office in slight disarray on numerous occasions. Papers would be moved around. Drawers opened. “Emails that I was sure I had disappeared from my email box,” the former editor said. “Seemed like people were in there looking for something. It’s that kind of a paranoid place. Disagreement was seen as a sign of disloyalty.”

Some journalists have been warned against forwarding emails… Read more

TWT Newsroom Dubs CEO ‘Evil Santa’ in Face of Layoffs

The Washington Times newsroom is hitting a rough patch. And right around the holidays, it doesn’t matter who has been naughty or nice. As WaPo‘s Erik Wemple has been reporting this afternoon, about a quarter of the newsroom is expected to be given the axe. As a result, some in the newsroom are now calling the new head honcho, Larry Beasley, “Evil Santa.” And judging from this picture below, they may not be too far off.

Some other sketchball details: Beasley drove up from Florida to take the job as TWT CEO in his motorhome. Says a TWT insider: “How low rent is that? This has TWT staff freaking out because how temporary is that that the head of the company could just drive away at any time and not look back — wouldn’t even have to pack. He was dusted off and brought out of retirement to take the job.” The clincher: The newsroom is afraid his real job is to close the newspaper and head back down into the Florida sunset.

Even so, the memo circulating this afternoon says the newspaper is absolutely “not folding.”

UPDATE: Jim Robbins resigned Monday from position as senior editorial writer for foreign affairs at The Washington Times. He resigned effective immediately. No notice.

See the memo from Editor David JacksonRead more

TWT Hires David Jackson As New Exec. Editor

From: Larry Beasley
Subject: Our new executive editor
Date: November 7, 2012 4:11:34 PM EST
    We have completed the search for a new executive editor and I am glad to announce that David Jackson will be taking over the reins of the newsroom effective immediately. I am sure most of you are familiar with David’s extraordinary journalism success as a correspondent for Time magazine and his stewardship of the Voice of America newsroom. We are lucky to have a journalist of his caliber to lead us into the digital future. His commitment to compelling, exclusive reporting will serve our audiences well and challenge each of us to reach higher and stretch further to differentiate ourselves in the 21st century news marketplace. And David has a keen sense of how to serve audiences in the new digital channels we are building.
     He’ll begin working immediately with Chris Dolan, Brett Decker and the entire news and opinion teams. I know you will join me in welcoming David. I’ve attached the official announcement we’ll be sending out shortly so you can share the good news with your friends.
Note: For any confused readers, this isn’t USA Today‘s David Jackson. This is David S. Jackson, a former speechwriter at the State Department and former director of the Dept. of Defense’ media group. He also spent 23 years at TIME.