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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Allbritton’

A Little Birdy Tells Us…

Today at 2:30PM Politico will hold an all-staff meeting at the Spectrum Theatre in Rosslyn across the street from HQ. The topic: Publisher Robert Allbritton‘s plans to sell ABC7 and NewChannel 8.

Suffice it to say the TV folks are shitting their pants “jittery.”


Allbritton to Sell ABC7 and NewsChannel 8

Robert Allbritton, who owns Politico, ABC7 and NewsChannel 8, said he plans to “explore” the sale of the TV stations. The news was announced by Politico‘s Mike Allen in this morning’s Playbook. Playbook, in addition to being the feature that the White House wakes up to, is also occasionally a publicity hub for Allbritton.

“While it would be sad to see our TV partners in someone else’s hands, the 44-year-old innovator made clear this would be amazingly good news for POLITICO — and future new media companies like it that he plans to invest heavily in over the coming months. ‘This is the Golden Age of new media innovation, and I intend to stay on the leading edge of it,’ Robert said in an email to the staff. ‘So, I will be looking to invest in or launch media companies that follow the POLITICO model of dominating targeted coverage – and then using multiple revenue streams to profitably fund it.’”

Clearly it’s not easy to imitate the “POLITICO model.” Allbritton scrapped TBD, the online thingamjig that was supposed to zone in on local coverage but focused on all kinds of other crap such as how asparagus can make your urine stink, about a year after it began.

See the full memo from Allbritton here.

A Little Birdy Tells Us…

That National Journal is nixing some of its own reporters out of this weekend’s parties revolving around the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Last night was the shindig at Publisher David Bradley‘s beautiful home in Kalorama, to which even some senior journalists  were not invited. More were allowed into their “Making the News” party last night co-hosted with The Atlantic at The Powerhouse in Georgetown. But tonight’s pre-party at the Washington Hilton? It’s a no go. Read more

Bradley Cooper to Attend Allbritton Brunch?

For the fourth year in a row, Politico Publisher Robert Allbritton, and his wife, Dr. Elena Allbritton, are opening their Georgetown home to a list of select Politico reporters, stars and political big shots. On the list is actor Bradley Cooper. The Politico statement released this morning is careful to say “Invited guests include…” just in case one of those high maintenance stars decides not to show up.

Nonetheless, it is at least possible Cooper will attend.

Invited guests include… Read more

Politico’s VandeHei to ‘Morning Joe’

Turns out the rumors of the past year and a half are true.

Politico‘s Executive Editor Jim VandeHei is getting the hell outta there and heading to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He has wanted to make his exit for awhile and TV is where he set his sights. MSNBC took notice after seeing the video that VandeHei narrated about how he breathed the very breath of life into Politico and how it has taken the journalism world — and the world — by storm. Some may have noticed VandeHei’s extensive appearance on “Morning Joe” last Thursday while regularly hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were on vacation.

VandeHei will slowly phase into Willie Geist‘s third-tier co-host role as Geist concentrates on the “TODAY Show.”

Politico had no comment at this time. Editor-in-Chief John Harris was heard wailing in the Politico newsroom. James Hohmann, a reporter, was spotted handing him tissues. Mike Allen, practically VandeHei’s brother, could not be found. Sources say he has fled to Argentina to drown himself in a thick, juicy steak and red wine.

Politico Publisher Robert Allbritton, when reached at his mansion… Read more

Layoffs at Politico? HuffPost, Please.

When HuffPost‘s Michael Calderone left in Politico in March of 2010, no love was lost on either end. The whys of that are hard to decipher — he broke news and worked at a feverish pace as most reporters there do — but the fit was never a good one. Which may help explain his rollout of anti-Politico stories in recent months, the latest of which has Politico laying people off, even though the decisions appear to be nothing of the kind. In June of last year, Calderone wrote a lengthy insiders piece on his former employer. In it, he reported on the “stressful, hamster wheel” environment in which a “handful of reporters receive preferential treatment from company leadership, while the majority are left drifting in a far off galaxy.”

In his most recent story on Politico, Calderone reported that two people have been let go in recent days — Photo Editor Jay Westcott, who opted to go public with the news on Facebook and Twitter and Jess Kamen, a technology reporter. These things are usually quiet matters. But there’s nothing quiet about Westcott, who also went public last September about his split from his fiancé, Madeline Marshall, also a Politico employee, and told his Facebook pals about his heartbreak. After she changed her status to “single”, Westcott snapped, “I took that picture. Take it down.” Eventually he seemed to come to his senses when he wrote, “I am devastated. I have to get off Facebook.”

So two people were shown the door. As Politico’s Editor-in-Chief John Harris eventually told Calderone for his story, Publisher Robert Allbritton has given them the green light to expand and bring on 30 new hires in 2013 — does this sound like a season of layoffs? To be sure, the word “layoff” is a loaded one and HuffPost, a Politico competitor, was sure to use it in their headline. The word, like it or not, denotes a company that’s struggling. On Sunday, WaPo media writer Erik Wemple also questioned Calderone’s use of the word. “Here’s one instance in which terminology matters a great deal,’ he wrote. “‘Layoffs,’ after all, sends a signal that the organization is shrinking, unable to meet its budgets with current staffing levels. If that’s the case here, it’s a giant story…” If not, he added, it’s a “far less consequential story.”

But Politico, struggling? WaPo recently made big offers to Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman. Both rejected them to stay.

In Wemple’s story we learn that Politicos such as Harris, Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, Haberman, Danielle Jones and Kim Kingsley have all signed multi-year contracts, crushing any impression that an exodus is underway. “He got played by bad sources because a few junior people left,” a media observer explained. “Politico has people come and go every week, so some variation of his dumb and naïve story could run most months.”

Asked to comment on whether he holds any ill will against his former employer and whether “layoffs” was a proper word to use, Calderone remarked to FishbowlDC… Read more

Joe Allbritton Dies

In a breaking news alert from Politico, we learn that Joe L. Allbritton, “one of the most influential media and financial figures of his generation, died Wednesday in Houston at age 87.” Allbritton founded the media company that includes Washington’s WJLA-TV, NewsChannel 8 and Politico. Robert Allbritton now runs the company.

Read the Politico obit here.

Politico Tells Staff to Take a Bow

Just moments ago, Politico released a memo to staff and Publisher Robert Allbritton that has to have them all ecstatic. It involves their alarming high page views from election day and night.

Maybe this earns reporters one full night of sleep?
Subject line: Please read this, soak it in, say wow and bow.

See the internal memo…

The FishbowlDC Interview With Vintage Fashion Blogger and Olympic Sangria Drinker Lisa Rowan

Say hello to Lisa Rowan, a fashion blogger for Goodwill of Greater Washington and an online communications consultant. She contributes to the Goodwill’s fashion blog and represents the organization at events and workshops. She also writes about vintage and consignment clothing for Rowan formerly worked as a Community Host for TBD, but as Robert Allbritton‘s Titanic began to sink, she was laid off in March. She earned a B.A. in history from the University of Maryland and is expected to earn an M.A. in Arts and Liberal Studies from Georgetown in December, 2013. Rowan was kind enough to photograph her favorite item of clothing. She wrote in late one night to say, “I’m back and full of sangria! 1. Dress photo attached. I didn’t even Instagram it, but I did do my best to make the sparkles stand out. It’s tough when all your walls are yellow or ivory. Maybe you can run it through Blingee? 2. Resume attached for your reference. It’s pretty boring. 3. [Re: TBD] I got laid off when everyone else did. I left in mid-March, about halfway through the marathon of last-day ‘happy’ hours. (We called them ‘sad hours.’)” Follow Rowan’s unique, self-deprecating wit on Twitter at @Lisatella. As for her photograph, she says: “Please note that I don’t actually have jaundice and that one of my weak points is naming image files.”

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be? Champagne.

How often do you Google yourself? With Google Alerts, self-Googling comes to you!

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)? “My dad gave me the same advice.”

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Elizabeth Holmes, style reporter at the Wall Street Journal. She can embrace the fun side of her beat, but has her thumb on related economic issues, too.

Do you have a favorite word? I like a lot of words. Playing favorites would be unfair.

Who would you rather have dinner with – CNN’s Anderson Cooper or ABC’s Katie Couric or Dr. Phil. Tell us why. Anderson Cooper would be the sassiest. And he sounds like a picky eater, which would make me look like a culinary adventurer in comparison.

The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Gabby Sidibe (“Precious” etc..) or Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). Who will it be? (Neither is not an option.) Gabby Sidibe. Hollywood!

What swear word do you use most often? Fucking.

You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.) Ann Curry, Brian Williams, Amanda Hess, The Rev. Al Sharpton. I think Amanda and Al would get along great.

On a serious note for a moment, if you could have dinner with a person who has died, who would it be? Peter Jennings.

Who is your favorite Boybander and why? (Ezzy, Hazy, Weigel, Attackerman, Beutler) Are these not those boys from One Direction?

When you pig out what do you eat? Cookies. So many cookies.

What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? We want the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible. If it’s a certain kind of underwear we don’t want to know about it. On one of my last vintage buying trips to an undisclosed location, I found a slinky evening dress by Palm Beach designer Ann Herwig that’s from some time in the early 1960s. It’s got a scoop neck, an open back, and ivory sequins from shoulder to toe. I bought it for $60, had the zipper repaired, and kept it for myself. God only knows when it will ever make it out of the closet.

Pick one: Mad Men, Scandal or True Blood. Mad Men.

Have you ever had a tarot card reading? No.

Have you ever had a near-death experience? I have felt like death on a number of occasions, but have never actually approached it.

Ever been arrested? No.

Read more

Kurtz Gives Williams Cheese With His Whine

Two weeks ago Politico suspended its White House Correspondent Joe Williams for going on national TV and declaring that Mitt Romney is more at ease with white people among some “dick” slurs about the presumed Republican presidential nominee and his wife on Twitter.

Seemed like a no-brainer, right? Except nothing is simple when a journalist hires a lawyer, or in this case, already has one waiting in the wings.

The suspension wore on for another week until the peaches over at Politico said they and Williams had reached a mutual conclusion that he should move on. We soon learned that won’t happen until Williams lands another job. Then, on the morning of July 4, we learned that Williams assaulted his ex-wife in February, pled guilty to assault in May and is on probation until November. Politico won’t say what they knew or when they knew it. For now, Williams remains on the payroll.

Enter CNN “Reliable Sources” host Howard Kurtz, the nation’s premier media journalist, who isn’t exactly known for his expediency. Just ask ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). It took Howie five days to deem that story worthy of covering. Strangely, Kurtz felt no need to interview Williams for two consecutive Sundays after news of his suspension broke on June 22. But suddenly three weeks later, he’s all hot for Williams. What’s the sudden draw? Could it have been Williams’ absurd appearance on Russia TV where the ladies gave him a free pass to blame the right wing media for his problems? The only new news on Williams last week was the assault on his ex-wife. We thought maybe Howie might do something crazy for a media reporter and ask him about it.

Wrong. Howie wondered about the reporter’s “personal” problems. Williams, of course, said his “personal problems” have nothing to do with his professional failings and that sites such as ours crossed a line. Kurtz: “Did you want to stay at Politico?” Williams: “I understand their decision, I understand what led them to have us come to this kind of a conclusion of the situation.” Kurtz: “So you were forced to leave, you didn’t have a choice.” Williams: “I had a choice but the choices weren’t good. …They said for me to come back and have them have confidence in me … would have been a little bit tricky, especially after all this stuff had come out.” So what were the choices? Who knows if there even were any? Howie never bothered to ask. For the umpteenth time Williams said his words on Romney were “inartfully phrased.”

One tiny question: WHO CARES, HOWIE? This is repeated puke. At this point Williams has talking points for his talking points.

Finally Howie asked about “problems in his personal life.” Despite the fact that Williams released a public statement detailing his version of specifically what happened, Howie didn’t bother.  Williams bizarrely equated his situation to CNN’s Anderson Cooper coming out of the closet last week because who knew Cooper was gay? “I think my personal life was brought into the situation unfairly,” Williams said, beginning what was several minutes of whining about how everything that happened was not his fault. “I think it was much in analogous to [sic] Anderson talking about how his sexuality had become an issue and he wanted to dispel that,” he said. “…I don’t think what my personal life involves has anything to do with how I do my job. It has everything to do with how I protect my children, how I protect other people who are involved in the situation, that I believe crossed the line.”

Howie “fired” back: “But didn’t you make yourself fair game? Once you become under scrutiny people are going to look at all aspects of your life.” At this point Williams pulled out his blame the right wing media talking points, although it’s peculiar: FBDC isn’t a right wing site. But let’s listen in as Williams barfs up more lunacy: “The media on the right decided that this was an issue and did so without context, without giving opportunity for a fair response and without examining the entire context.” Read more on Williams’ victim mentality and continued whining.

It’s no secret that Howie won’t ask the tough questions or prep himself enough to ask proper followups. But this was low even for Howie. He gave Williams the easiest ride in the world and another chance to recycle his blame the right wing media talking points. Congrats Howie! Even Russia TV has you beat.

And that’s just embarrassing.