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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Perl’

Psst..WaPo in Market for ‘Big Thinker’

Just circulated in the Washington Post newsroom: WaPo management is on the prowl for someone with a human brain.

“With Carlos Lozada‘s coming move to enterprise editor, we’re in the market for a new Outlook editor. Outlook is one of the signature pieces of real estate in The Washington Post, a vital element of the Sunday newspaper and a major source of new ideas and debates in the Washington, national and global conversation. Outlook tackles all subjects — from politics, economics and foreign policy to sports, the arts and pop culture. We want an editor who can build upon the success of the section to take it in new and ambitious directions. Opinion and analysis journalism is as ubiquitous as it is competitive. We need a big thinker, a skilled editor and a creative force who can imagine visual, print and digital content in all their possibilities. To edit Outlook you must be knowledgeable and/or interested in every conceivable topic; you must be able to look around the corner and anticipate where Washington debates are headed; you must have a bottomless well of possible contributors; you must be able to identify the great, simple idea lost in otherwise dense prose; you must know how to combine provocation and point of view with reporting and rigor. Editing experience is essential; opinion editing is useful but not required. We’re interested in hearing from anyone with a clear and compelling vision for what Outlook can accomplish. Former Outlook editor Steve Luxenberg has graciously agreed to serve as interim editor until a full-time replacement is chosen. Interested candidates — from inside or outside the newsroom — should contact Marcus Brauchli, Liz Spayd, John Temple, Shirley Carswell, or Peter Perl.”

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Intern Aftermath

Earlier in the week, we got tipped off by a WaPo staffer that management had released an internal document to the entire newsroom introducing the current crop of interns and what drew them to the paper.

One intern, Rosie Powers, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate, proceeded to introduce her new WaPo colleagues to their own CEO Don Graham. She told them he’s the son of Katharine Graham, explained who she was and misspelled her first name. Rosie committed no crime here. Nor did we “attack” this young woman or say she committed a “sin.”

But as usual, when we do what the rest of Washington’s journalism community does — which is, we dig, report, we get leaked documents — some went into an apoplectic uproar. FishbowlDC is “loathsome” remarked James Grimaldi, a longtime investigative reporter who recently took WaPo‘s buyout and is headed to the WSJ. 1. We’re quite certain that the self-righteous Grimaldi has been leaked documents once or twice in his career. 2. We’re sure he appreciated it. 3. We’re convinced he didn’t give a rat’s ass about the person in question’s feelings. A day earlier, NBC’s Luke Russert said FBDC had reached a “new low” and PBS’s Gwen Ifill appeared to second him, calling him a “good man” — apparently for writing that. For starters, we have a history of defending Luke when his enormous army of detractors writes to say what scum he is for riding his father’s coattails. Funny, he never saw fit to praise us for that. But more fittingly, Luke likely never considered the feelings of others when he interviewed ex-New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner last summer and nailed him on that Weiner underwear shot because everyone was doing it. By Luke and other’s standards, he probably should have thought about Weiner’s poor wife, Huma Abedin, or the innocent, unborn Weiner who hadn’t yet breathed his first weinerous breath.

Journalism is not about protecting people’s feelings. And in Washington when it’s not journalists being covered, it isn’t about feelings. When President Obama recently goofed and called Mitt Romney “George” which is his dead father’s name, the news cycle went wild. Was it petty? Maybe. Did family members get their feelings hurt? Who knows? No one cared. And when Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said first lady Michelle Obama had a large derriere in a private phone conversation, countless pubs (including and especially us) covered it. Were Michelle’s feelings on the line regarding the size of her rump? Again, it wasn’t an issue. But there’s a double standard. All reporting is fine as long as you’re dissecting the lives of government officials, their staffs and the White House. But dare to cover media in the same way that journalists here cover politics and that is preposterously off limits.

The outrage didn’t end with Grimaldi or Russert. WaPo‘s Gene Weingarten, who devotes much of his waking existence to poop, dubbed FBDC “petty” and called us “kindergarten muckrakers” who specialize in “phony” controversy. He spent actual time searching for FBDC stories he feels were particularly egregious. Meanwhile, Weingarten routinely calls up company administrators to harass them about a myriad of stupid things and then he writes about it. Half the time they don’t respond, the responses in his stories are blank spots and somehow this is considered humor. Meanwhile, FBDC is the lowest form of, to put in Weingarten terms, feces, out there. And for what? Getting leaked an odd piece of news about his own paper’s intern? Yes, suddenly there’s a huge moral problem here.

But what is more morally outrageous is the fragility with which this young woman, Rosie, is being treated by these longtime journos like Weingarten, Katharine Zaleski and Lauren Ashburn, Editor-in-Chief and founder of DailyDownload.com. They coddled her. Worse, they pitied her. Weingarten referred to her as a “kid.” Zaleski, formerly Executive Digital Director at WaPo, said an internship at WaPo was “preschool for interns” adding, “that’s what an internship is for.” She later said that was a typo and meant “press-school.” That’s SOME typo. Ashburn said this was “sad” that an “innocent” girl was being attacked. Russert, meanwhile, rode in on his white horse, saying, only “professionals” like him should be on the receiving end of supposed attacks. I’d like to think Rosie is well worth being considered a “professional” and not demean her as a weakling who needs swaddling. Whatever happened to grizzled editors who told you when your work wasn’t worth a damn? They cut your copy with brutal honesty and toughened you into being reporters who didn’t emote all day long. There were editors who killed your copy when it didn’t make sense. Or the ones who threw you out of their offices when you wasted their time with nonsensical chatter. Or the journalism profs who gave you big fat F’s for a single spelling error. Are today’s journalists expecting to have hands held and pacifiers in mouth every step of the way? Is the new mentality that media coverage must be gentle and Washington’s journalists must be protected from hurt feelings?

Seems the word “intern” caused some to go haywire this week as if the young woman’s age was reason enough to scrap the story. When a newspaper employs human beings, it is our beat to cover them, whether they are interns, reporters, editors or the blanched Marcus Brauchli himself. Chandra Levy was covered, but then again she was murdered and had been sleeping with a lawmaker. Monica Lewinksy, a low level White House aide, was covered. She gave the President a blowjob. What’s next, are reporters going to be forbidden from covering low-level staffers on Capitol Hill because they are fresh out of school? Next up: Jim Romenesko wrote a quick and dirty post wondering if FishbowlDC had reached a “new low.” His comments were minimal as is the Romenesko way. But he described what we wrote about Ms. Powers as “her sins” — his description not ours. Now there’s no doubt in our minds that Romenesko has never been leaked anything. To put the icing on the cake, The Guardian‘s Ana Marie Cox, who once made it her life’s mission to screw over many who helped her by giving them a good ass kicking on Wonkette, wrote in all caps, “Romenesko: HAS FISHBOWL REACHED A NEW LOW?” That’s rich, Ana. Call us when you get to that amends step.

Finally, where is the outrage for WaPo? Not only did they release internal documents about these youngsters to an entire newsroom of journalists, but they clearly didn’t carefully read what they had put out there. Or did they read it at all? WaPo Asst. Manager of Personnel Peter Perl wrote to say, “A new low today, picking on an intern. Really?” He didn’t bother with an email. He kept it all succinctly in the subject line. We certainly hope he’s coping in his paper’s post buyout haze with journalists leaving in droves this week and last. Maybe he was on a sugar high from all that goodbye caking? Clearly Perl wasn’t aware, but in a shocking twist of irony, WaPo went on Facebook this week to call for a public mocking of summer interns that they could meme-ify. They wrote, “Tell us about the questionable interns you’ve encountered and we’ll meme-ify your experience.” Urgent memo to Mr. Perl: Picking on an intern. Really? We’re not sure what’s worse — the word meme-ify or the fact that WaPo can’t apparently see its ass from its elbow or its own bullying mentality starting with Weingarten who devoted his entire Tuesday night to casting aspersions on FishbowlDC. Next Tuesday, Gene, we hope you will spend your evening doing something far more valuable such as changing the toilet paper roll or harassing a company spokeswoman. Let’s just hope she’s older than 22 and not an intern.

Spotted: Brauchli and Perl

Walking to lunch together today in the afternoon sunshine on L St. NW: WaPo Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli and colleague, Peter Perl, Director of Newsroom Training and Professional Development.

Staying Abreast of WaPo Newsroom Uproar

After he got through the horror of seeing the word “boobs” in print (in a quote, we might add), WaPo Assistant Managing Editor/Personnel Peter Perl fired off this disgusted missive to me late yesterday afternoon. This was before, as FBDC reported earlier today, WaPo went ahead today and issued that newsroom survey about the new “Post Now” video feature starring Anqoinette Crosby.

Subject line: Remarkable

“I would not know where to begin exactly in expressing how offensive your writing was today.  The sexist nature of the piece about Anqoinette Crosby was quite stunning to me, as if it was written by a teenaged boy circa 1958. I think it is a sad commentary on your work and your character.

Sincerely,

Peter Perl”

Dear Mr. Perl: You have every right to write in and I appreciate your honesty. No doubt you were just as aghast when then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) showed some cleavage on the Senate Floor and your own paper covered it in a story headlined, “Hillary Clinton’s Tentative Dip Into New Neckline Territory” complete with a near boob shot. But let’s see how appalled you really are after those newsroom surveys start rolling in. A Washington, D.C. reporter put it better than we ever could: “People need to get a sense of humor (and a bra!).”

WaPo Seeks New Nats Writer

Chico Harlan is shifting gears at the Post and leaving his spot as the Nats writer up for grabs. Memo obtained by FishbowlDC below:

After two very long seasons doing an outstanding job covering the Washington Nationals, Chico Harlan is eager for a new challenge at the Post, and a well-deserved one. We do not fault Chico for having failed to bring winning baseball to the District. In fact, he now joins a long list of baseball writers who have come up short in that regard. What this means is that we are looking for a new reporter to cover the Nats. This is one of the most high profile and rewarding beats in Sports because our coverage of the city’s MLB franchise is at the center of our department’s mission. It is also a very demanding job. It involves covering upwards of 140-150 games per year, in addition to spring training and the off-season.

The beat writer is also responsible for regular posts to the Nationals Journal blog, which has a large and passionate following of baseball fans. A background in sports is not essential, though the ideal candidate would be someone who has high energy, a willingness to travel and a love for the game of baseball.

We would like to fill this position soon to give the writer time to acclimate before the start of spring training in Florida in mid-February.

If interested, contact Matt Vita, Peter Perl, or Alexa Steele by December 2.

WaPo Redskins Reporter to NFL Network

DREAM JOB OPEN… well, not my dream but I know plenty of guys that would kill for Jason LaCanfora‘s gig covering the Redskins beat for WaPo. The post is up for grabs because LaCanfora just landed an on-air spot with the NFL Network. WaPo memo below:

After five years of outstanding work on the Redskins beat, Jason LaCanfora is moving on to the world of television sports journalism. He’s taking a job as a correspondent with the NFL Network. Jason’s departure leaves a gaping hole in one of the core beats not just for Sports, but also for the entire newspaper. We are looking to fill it with a reporter who is willing to work long hours on a demanding beat in a highly competitive environment. Candidates should be able to file game stories on tight deadline, break news on-line and in the newspaper and write the occasional feature or player/coach profile.

If interested, please contact Matt Vita or Peter Perl by Monday, June 15.

Countdown to WaPo Reorg

A major editorial reorg is underway at WaPo. Major changes are expected any day.

Peter Perl tells the City Paper, “I think people in the newsroom are going to be quite happy with the choices of the people who are going to be leading the paper.”

City Paper reports that in addition to the editorial overhaul, WaPo’s content distribution procedures will be given a major charge via a multimedia control room where editors and web folks will streamline the transfer of content to blogs, Tweets, online articles, and print stories.

Check out the CP post here and send us any info or tips you have about the changes.

Here Comes The… WaPo Style Section

Internal memo from the Post:

Style is seeking a reporter to help launch a new feature covering local weddings (a/k/a the Sports page for women). We’ve got some ideas on how this might work, but want to get a reporter involved from the beginning in conceiving this new part of our coverage. We’ve got some ideas on how this might work, but want to get a reporter involved from the beginning in conceiving this new part of our coverage. Of course, we want this feature to have a strong interactive component, so we’ll be asking anyone interested to write a memo outlining her or his ideas for both print and online. Our strong preference is to fill this position with an internal candidate.

Interested? Please see Steve Reiss, Deb Leithauser or Peter Perl by April 13.

Maybe this guy should apply, we’re just saying.