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Posts Tagged ‘Marcus Brauchli’

WaPo’s Wemple Goes Rogue

WaPo‘s executive editor Marcus Brauchli sent out a memo yesterday saying that the publication would be offering voluntary buyouts to “some newsroom employees.” You might wonder if one of those employees might be media blogger Erik Wemple after a post he wrote about it.

Wemple, whose loose cannon tactics on this matter are being applauded within the newsroom, wrote that portions of Brauchli’s memo send a “destructive message.” In particular, the part that said the objective of the buyouts was to have “limited staff reduction that won’t affect the quality” of WaPo. Wemple interpreted that to mean that some employees are “dead weight” to upper management.

In an email to FishbowlDC, Wemple told us that Brauchli didn’t seem “bothered at all” by the language he used in his post. He said they had a “cordial” exchange and that Brauchli “reacted to what I wrote just the way you’d want an executive editor to react.” It’s worth noting that Wemple doesn’t report to Brauchli, but to Fred Hiatt in editorial.

Last May after Wemple joined WaPo as a media reporter, he said he wasn’t interested in writing about the publication anymore…

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WaPo Evasive on Important Buyout Question

What if WaPo doesn’t reach the necessary maximum number of voluntary buyouts?

Some who attended the Town Hall style meetings yesterday at the newspaper found Exec. Editor Marcus Brauchli‘s comments too vague for comfort on this point. The bottom line: They want 48 employees to agree to the buyout, 33 will do. For now, this is voluntary. He hopes it will stay that way.

Reports are growing increasingly confusing as to who is eligible and who is not. In a few tweets, Ombudsman Patrick Pexton said that the Investigative Team wasn’t eligible for the buyout. He has corrected this to explain that, in fact, they are eligible. The way it works is this: There are seven employees on the Investigative Team. Up to three can take the buyout. But no one is being forced and maybe none will volunteer. The Post Guild website explains that some are exempt from the buyout altogether: “Certain departments, departmental units, and positions have been exempt from the buyouts, including Foreign, Sports columnists, Style columnists, Outlook, National enterprise and politics teams, and others. Part-timers and recent hires are also exempt.”

See the breakdown of of 33 positions being targeted after the jump…

For up to the minute information on the buyout ordeal, visit the guild website here.

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WaPo Offers Buyouts

WaPo is offering voluntary buyouts to “some newsroom employees.” It isn’t intended for “every department” or every individual,” stresses Exec. Editor Marcus Brauchli in a morning memo. “Our objective is a limited staff reduction that won’t affect the quality, ambition or authority of our journalism. We believe this is possible, given the changes in how we work and the great successes we have had building our digital readership lately.”

Those employees who are offered the deal have 45 days to decide.

Interesting line from Brauchli: “We may turn down some volunteers if we feel their departure would impair our journalism. That said, it is important that we achieve real savings.”

Best example of corporate speak: “The exact details of the buyout, technically a voluntary Separation Incentive Program, will come later, after the company talks to the Guild about its proposed terms.”

Today at WaPo brass will hold two “Town Hall” meetings — one at 11 a.m., another at 4:30 p.m. to answer questions.

See the memo…

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Was WaPo’s Flock Forced on Vacation?

Like some reporters, WaPo‘s Elizabeth Flock was off last week — conceivably for the holidays.

But FishbowlDC sources are insisting that Flock was suspended last week for writing that post on GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney‘s using a KKK slogan in his speeches. Editors who oversaw the post insisted that she call Romney’s campaign for comment. She did so via email and the comment went to her spam folder, as reported by WaPo Ombudsman Patrick Pexton on Dec. 16. In his piece, Pexton gave Flock a public flocking on many levels — her journalism, her ethics and her common sense. He suggests that she pick up the phone once in a blue moon and use it. He also suggests she think before associating someone who has never been accused of racism with the KKK. Then this morning, weirdly, she writes about an 8-year-old American girl being targeted by Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel. Coincidence perhaps?

Sources in WaPo‘s newsroom say word spread last week that WaPo had suspended Flock. She didn’t post anything last week, nor tweeted about anything work-related. But today she’s back on BlogPost. Was she on a regularly scheduled holiday or what some are calling a “forced vacation”? At WaPo Managing Editor Raju Narisetti‘s newsroom Q&A last week, he said experienced editors read the post before it went up and didn’t flag it.

Flock did not deny the news. But she responded to FBDC, saying, “Thanks for your email. I can’t comment on the matter. You will have to go through Marcus Brauchli.” Narisetti, who oversees the entire website operation,  also wouldn’t comment. “Happy holidays,” he said in response. “As you might imagine, I can’t comment on personnel issues.” To that end, we sought comment from WaPo Director of Communications Kris Coratti. We also threw in an email to Executive Editor Steamed Marcus Brauchli for kicks and will check our spam filters pronto. We’re hoping four’s a charm.

UPDATE: Coratti wrote, “We don’t comment on personnel issues. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.”

The FishbowlDC Interview With WaPo’s Annie Gowen

Say hello to WaPo‘s poverty and wealth reporter Annie Gowen. A few things to note about her: She’s a Bachelor junkie, as in the reality show starting back up again on Jan. 3. In addition, she’s got a screenplay about a cancer survivor that’s currently being shopped around Hollywood. It isn’t easy getting Annie to meet a FishbowlDC deadline — a little sharpness (on our part, not hers) shifted her into high gear and she got it done, with flying colors we might add. One more thing…we’re sure your big boss Steamed Marcus Brauchli won’t take offense that you ditched him for MSNBC’s Chris Matthews as a dinner companion. At least we hope not.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Diet Dr. Pepper – the ultimate Midwestern drink.

How often do you Google yourself? Hardly ever, but I check Google “Images” sometimes to make sure it looks like I’m behaving in party pix.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? “You’re throwing me under the bus!”

Describe the unforgettable story of your career. Troop drawdown in Iraq, Summer of 2011

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? George Packer of The New Yorker. He writes with an eye toward history in unbelievably lean and muscular sentences.

Do you have a favorite word? Hmmm..that’s a toughie. Sometimes I say “Hi Foxy” to my female friends.

What word or phrase do you overuse? See above.

Who would you rather have dinner with –  MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, FNC’s Chris Wallace or WaPo’s Marcus Brauchli? Since I see MB at the office, I’d have to say Chris Matthews, because we’ve never met and I’m a fan.

You are ordered to go on a road trip to an undisclosed location. You can go with White House Spokesman Jay Carney or Bo, the President’s Portuguese Water Dog. No ones feelings will be hurt. Who do you take? Jay.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable”.

It’s 3 a.m. and you get up to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Do you check your BlackBerry? Yes, alas.

What word do you routinely misspell? Attach…always seems like there should be an extra “t.”  Is there?

What swear word do you use most often? The S word.

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Washingtonian Gets an Advice Column

Washingtonian‘s Harry Jaffe is taking a break from skewering WaPo‘s Steamed Marcus Brauchli to — WHOA! — give advice with his wife, Louise.

It’ll be a husband and wife war of the roses kind of column called “Ask Harry & Louise.” Apparently they don’t always agree on everything?

The launch was this morning at 10 a.m. and involves a married woman who spends a little too much time on the side with a guy named “Dan.” Harry discusses “brain sex” and trust. Louise gets all organized about it, columns and all. Read here.

An email dispatch explains,”We have been fielding your questions and tussling over the answers for months. Now we have columns to get us through November. In a nutshell, we will distinguish our advice from others — Savage Love, Dear Prudence, Carolyn Hax, etc. — by offering two distinct answers: Louise’s reasonable voice; Harry’s rash response. A twofer! We will not be giving up our day jobs any time soon. Louise will teach; I will write.”

WaPo’s Ombudsman Steps Up to Plate

Edwin Chen‘s beef with WaPo for butchering the name of his organization, Natural Resources Defense Council, in last Sunday’s newspaper was another example of just how slow the publication is to issue a correction and make a simple change. The error: National Resources Defense Council. Despite Chen, a former Bloomberg White House Correspondent, sending word to WaPo editors on Sunday morning, they weren’t able to address the issue of “National” Vs. “Natural” for another 48 hours when a correction appeared on A-2. What, it had to go up the chain of command? Executive Editor Steamed Marcus Brauchli has to approve the word change before it can happen?

The only thing WaPo can be commended on here is allowing their Ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, to bluntly critique the incident on Tuesday afternoon. Three cheers for Pexton. He wrote, “His mistake may seem minor in the grand scheme of things. But in the context of this town, it is almost unforgivable. The words are similar enough, sure — natural and national — but if you’ve spent any time in D.C., you know that the NRDC is about natural resources, not national resources.” He even got a former colleague to explain how abysmal WaPo‘s copy editing department is. Read the full slashing here.

Former Bloomberg Scribe Blasts WaPo

SOS! WaPo needs an emergency fact checker.

Former mild-mannered Bloomberg White House Correspondent Ed Chen, now Federal Communications Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, finally had it over the weekend after WaPo ran a story calling his organization the National Resources Defense Council. Twice. He says the media has gotten the name of the organization wrong one too many times. Yes, this was the straw that broke Chen’s back.

He explained to FishbowlDC: “Over the years, almost every big and small publication has mis-named us; so, way too many to tally here. Suffice it to say that such shoddy work happens so frequently that some of our media folks have this permanent tagline attached to their email signatures: “The word “National” does not appear in Natural Resources Defense Council.”

Chen sent this missive WaPo‘s Executive Editor Steamed Marcus Brauchli, Business Editor Kelly Johnson and Ombudsman Patrick Pexton:

Dear Senior WP Editors,
Your fine article today in the Sunday business section on light bulbs (by freelancer Paul Glader) gets our name wrong — sadly an all too common occurrence. We are the NATURAL (not “National,” as in your story, twice) Resources Defense Council.

Chen got in one last dig, telling FBDC: “If the NATURAL Resources Defense Council  had a nickel for every such mistake, we’d be able to match — ad for TV ad — those put up by the dirty, fossil fuel industry designed to mislead the public.”

UPDATE: Chen heard back from Pexton. Well, not from Pexton himself — he’s busy working on other crap WaPo is doing. He heard back from his editorial aide. “Hi Mr. Chen, Thanks for taking the time to write. I’ve forwarded your e-mail along to our corrections desk. They can also be reached directly at All the best, Alison Coglianese, Editorial Aide to the Ombudsman, The Washington Post.” As of 2 p.m. today the Natural Resources Defense Council was still written as “National Resources Defense Council” in the publication’s online story. Chen wrote WaPo on Sunday at 9:22 a.m. These things take time. They must go through the proper channels (and the car wash) before they can be fixed.

WaPo Takes Reporters to School of Hard Links

Top brass at WaPo is instructing their reporters on the importance of linking stories today. At the direction of Executive Editor Steamed Marcus Brauchli, reporters are being taught the basics with all the sophistication of Thomas the Tank Engine. “Links are the signposts of the Internet,” Brauchli and Co. write in an office-wide email. “Without them we lose readers.”

Other standout lines:

  • The Washington Post is a very trusted source with a very high Google ranking. By not linking other Washington Post stories to your own, you’re denying yourself a lot of Google-driven audience.
  • A link example: “The Emmy Awards [link goes to early Post piece on the Emmys] will reward the best that TV has to offer on Sunday night.”

Read the full internal memo…

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WaPo’s Ned Martel: Promises Promises

So far WaPo is full of broken promises when it comes to writer Ned Martel. In May of this year, Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli, steamed as usual, issued that memo about the ex-Style Editor heading to the presidential campaign trail to write features. Brauchli said he was moving to the “formidable team” to cover the “personalities, the offbeat, the veiled dramas that enliven the narrative of our democracy.” God Bless America does that sound patriotic. Was Brauchli joking?

We had high hopes after they stripped Martel of his management tasks (many of which resulted in angering and degrading many of the reporters he was managing). But so far, he has done little on politics. Most of his so-called 2012 presidential trail coverage has been on fashion and the arts.

His last two pieces: Maryland’s football uniforms and Sunday’s Outlook piece on hipster nerd eyeglasses. He also blogged the J. Crew fashion week show in between.

We will keep a watchful eye on Martel’s elusive beat. But in the meantime, we hear he’s starring in a brand new Broadway musical.