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Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Lubold’

Free Fall Q & A With FP’s Kevin Baron

Foreign Policy magazine’s Kevin Baron, who typically writes The E-Ring blog, is filling in for Gordon Lubold this week to write the early morning Situation Report. So we caught up with him to see how that’s going. A bit of background on Baron: He came to Foreign Policy last July. Before that, he worked at National Journal for 10 months, and previously significant stints at Stars & Stripes and the Boston Globe. What lured Baron to FP was a newly created national security “channel” on their website to beef up defense reporting. It’s called a “channel” but doesn’t involve TV footage. He explains that the “The E-Ring” — his section — is named for a part of the Pentagon where you find all the big shots, such as former Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta. As a Pentagon reporter, Baron has traveled the world — Angola, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Japan, Korea, Slovakia, Qatar, Djibuti, Egypt, Israel as well as Afghanistan (four trips) and Iraq (four trips). “I don’t get to go on the fun trips like Paris and Rome,” he says. Baron marks the Peruvian chicken as the best food at the Pentagon. He explains that the “Pentagon press cave” is a fire trap because there’s only one door going in and out and only a couple windows. He couldn’t take a picture for FishbowlDC because it’s not permitted and he’d have to get clearance. But he says it’s nothing much to see — a bunch of cubicles, a long common desk. And no wireless. “They took away our wireless,” he says. Reporters must plug in through ethernet cables. To use a cell phone, he has to walk to the “outer ring” or near a window.

What’s your usual beat? I do the Defense Blog. I’m a national security reporter. I cover the Pentagon. I’m at the Pentagon almost every day. I cover Capitol Hill when it’s related to national security stuff. 

What time do you wake up and get to work? For this week, the Situation Report is a morning news letter. We have a pretty global audience. A lot of it is pre-reported the day before. After dinner, before bed I’ll do some writing. I get up 5:30 in the morning, put on coffee, feed the dog and start to piece it all together. I check the overnight news, especially the overseas Afghanistan reports. So I’m at home in my pajamas. I’ve been handing it in between 8 and 8:30. There’s no hard rule. It depends. It’s meant to be something to read after you get to your desk.

I didn’t realize national security reporting could be fun and snappy. Is that what your trying to achieve as the substitute Situation Report writer this week while Lubold is on vacation? That’s kind of what I like to achieve in all my writing honestly. That’s just my style. The more uninhibited I am, the better the prose is. Finding the voice can be difficult, especially when you’re trained to not have a voice. Up and coming journalists, I would highly recommend them to [know how to] do it all.

Why won’t you tell us where Lubold is? It’s so awful of you to tell us only that it involves sun, tropical and freckles. I should’ve asked him if he minds. It’s his vacation. I’m not going to publish his vacation. He’s getting sun, he’s on vacation. Is he out of the country or in the United States? I can’t say. [Grumbles and other sounds of irritation.] Come on, you can tell me that. No, I can’t.

You cover very serious world topics. Does it ever make you afraid or put more thoughts in your head as to what could happen? Um, I think it makes you more aware, but not more afraid. Just the opposite. It demystifies everything.

What do you think is the most likely event to happen? We spend so much time covering wars far from our shores. I don’t walk around town looking at security measures. I’m focused on whether the trillions of dollars chasing terrorists in the Middle East has had any effect on, not just American safety, but global security. I think this is the best beat in town in that I literally don’t know what I’m going to cover everyday. One day you’re covering military suicides, the next day you’re writing about whether Chuck Hagel hates Israel. You never know, it’s a great mix.

Coming up… Baron’s thoughts on Prince Harry. Read more

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Why Can’t Politico Find its Nat. Security Groove?

(From L to R): Lubold, Ewing and Hoskinson

Friday was Phil Ewing‘s last day writing Politico’s “Morning Defense” blog. His stint at the publication lasted less than six months. He’s now a blogger for DOD Buzz at Gordon Lubold launched the early morning letter in May 2010 with the idea that it would be a “Playbook” for defense types. He left after eight months and now works as a senior advisor and writer at the United States Institute of Peace. The national security beat at Politico has collectively hit bumps in the road. Jen DiMascio, who covered defense, recently left for Aviation Week. As did Laura Rozen, who now works for Yahoo! News. Before Lubold, there was David Cloud, formerly of WSJ and NYT and now at LAT. He left after about four months.

Third time’s a charm? We’ll see how long Chuck Hoskinson, an in-house editor, who has taken over “Morning Defense” lasts with it.

When asked about the growing list of departures on this beat, Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris told FishbowlDC: “The circumstances behind those individual departures vary quite a lot, but I think I won’t plunge into the details.”

Reasons for leaving include the following: lack of sleep, lack of resources toward the beat, lack of depth of understanding by Politico editors on what reporters on the beat must contend with in daily coverage.

Anyone who follows Politico‘s national security reporting closely can see that “Morning Defense” is on its third blogger since May. This summer management made a conscious decision before launching Politico Pro that defense news was not going to be part of Politico Pro’s lineup — it’s still unclear what their plans are for defense coverage.

The blog is said to have been embraced by the National Security community on Capitol Hill, the State Department and the Pentagon, all of which have fed it. One such blog loyalist observed to FishbowlDC on condition of anonymity: “Politico still doesn’t seem to be comfortable playing on a beat where they’ve clearly tried to make an effort but where continuity counts. It is hard to replicate their velocity/volume model in a field that isn’t necessarily as politically driven as other policy areas.”

Laura Rozen’s Telling Farewell to Politico

If you want to see “On Foreign Policy’s” goodbye note from Laura Rozen, it could be found on Politico‘s website on Monday. That’s it. Today, she and the blog are gone as she makes her way over to Yahoo! News. She especially thanks many colleagues and readers. There’s Ben Smith, Ken Vogel and Keach Hagey plus Gordon Lubold, who no longer works for Politico. Strangely missing in her note of gratitude are those bosses — John Harris and Jim VandeHei — who hired her and sung her praises early on. Maybe she mentally clumped them together in that vague “and everybody else” category? We’ve heard from many sources that the departure wasn’t so rosy (and that’s putting it mildly).

See the note…

Read more

Politico Has Three Newbies

Politico has made three new hires who are all starting today.

1. Gordon Lubold from the Christian Science Monitor.
2. Scott Wong from the Arizona Republic.
3. Simmi Aujla from Brown University where she was editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald.

Read about them here.

Politico Snags CSM’s Pentagon Reporter

Christian Science Monitor‘s Pentagon reporter, Gordon Lubold, has been snagged for the defense reporter post at Politico, sources tell FishbowlDC.

Before joining CSM several years ago, he worked for Marine Corps Times, a Gannett-owned weekly published by the Army Times company.