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Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Kessler’

Kessler Wins First-Ever Novak Award: ‘I Try to be Fair and Tell the Truth’

RK.jpgRon Kessler, chief Washington correspondent for, is honored to receive an award in the name of a journalist he respected so much.

This past weekend David Keene, who chairs the American Conservative Union and whose foundation represents CPAC, awarded Kessler, chief Washington correspondent of, the first Robert Novak Journalist of the Year Award at CPAC.

Voting was based on 96-CPAC co-sponsors.

“Novak told it like it is,” Kessler told FBDC in an interview this afternoon. “He came down on Republicans when he thought they were in the wrong and praised them when he felt they were doing right. That is the approach that I take to journalism. I try to be fair and to tell the truth.”

Kessler said Newsmax allows him to bring out items “the rest of the media tend to ignore”. He cites Fox News as a “real example” of being “fair and balanced.”

A former WaPO and WSJ reporter in the 70s and 80s, Kessler said he knew Novak but not terribly well. “I would see him at parties and we had mutual friends and I think he was respected by the whole range of media,” he said.

But Kessler says today’s journalism is struggling. “When I was at the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, if we would have written the stories the way they are written today we would have been fired,” he said.

He believes standards are questionable. “I think it’s a combination of more competition, cable news, and also just a jihad by the members of the press to go after the Bush Administration and a lowering of standards by editors,” he said. “It’s really hard to put your finger on it. It’s a witch hunt and it’s hard to explain how a witch hunt starts.”

And the pace doesn’t help. “There’s pressure to get things on the web right away, don’t get the other side, just run with what you have.” he said. “That definitely contributes to the problem. In the end it’s the trustworthy outlets that are surviving.”

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A Third Party Crasher Emerges

The Salahis weren’t the exclusive party crashers. There was a third uninvited guest, reports WaPo’s Reliable Sources.

Ronald Kessler
, chief Washington correspondent for, reported on it first this morning followed by a statement from the Secret Service. All that is known so far is that the crasher is male and wore a tuxedo.

Last August, Kessler released his book, In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect.

Story developing…

>Update: Politico reporting additional details.

FishbowlDC’s Coffee & Convo with Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy

Ruddy Newsmax Photo.jpg

Like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy hails from South Florida. When FishbowlDC sat down with Ruddy, we asked him about operating his magazine and website in the midst of the conservative media conglomerate that has formed around Palm Beach. “Coincidence,” he told us before clarifying that Newsmax is “not right-wing.” Ruddy prefers to describe his media group as “center-right but inclusive.”

Something about “center-right” seems to be working for Newsmax. The eleven year old company has been turning a profit for over five years and is expected to generate $30 million dollars in 2009 – up from $25 million last year and $19 million in 2007. The company employs 30 editors and 110 full-time employees. Not too shabby for a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter’s leap into entrepreneurship.

With traffic numbers that regularly rival Drudge Report’s (3 million uniques – give or take) and bylines by names like WaPo & WSJ alum Ronald Kessler; the group’s chief Washington correspondent, Ruddy feels confident about a plan for Newsmax expansion – even in today’s troubled economy.

Expect to hear more chatter about Newsmax in the coming months. Until then, Ruddy offered FishbowlDC a sneak preview of things to come:

Washington Workspace: Plans for a Newsmax DC office are in the works. Ruddy tells FishbowlDC that they plan on establishing District digs in the next six months.

Strength in Numbers: The only organization currently listed as a “News Partner” on is The Washington Times. Expect that to change as Newsmax actively pursues new partnerships and considers strategic acquisitions.

On the Ground: Expect to see a lot more of Ruddy and the Newsmax brand around town. Ruddy’s team plans to “walk the walk” with some big Washington events planned for the fall.

Morning Reading List, 10.16.07

morningsun.gifGood morning Washington.

  • Did you make it? The deadline for this year’s Knight News Challenge grants and the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning competition, was yesterday!

  • Washington Life’s Curse: Jinxing diplomatic corps?

  • Don’t miss the Watergate Conference on Political & Congressional Reporting at the Watergate this weekend. For the full schedule, click here.

  • From “Each new medium — from the yellow press at the turn of the century, to the movies, television, trash television, video games and talk radio — has been the greatest threat to civilized discourse since, well, since the previous threat to civilized discourse. So, it’s something of a rite of passage that blogs in general — and Gawker in particular — are the subject of a critical cover story in this week’s New York magazine, one of the last bastions of old-school journalism. The cover line: ‘ and the culture of bile.’”

  • His Extreme-ness points out two hair-raising (haha) similarities between The New York Times and Washington Post.

  • The Washington Post launched part two of “How the World Sees America” yesterday. Check it out here.

  • A CNN release announced, “The CNN Digital Network has staked a new high ground in September, topping not only all ‘Current Events and Global News’ sites but also beating out all other ‘News and Information’ sites including Internet stalwarts Wikipedia and the Weather Channel.”

  • Press Gazette reports, “Guardian News and Media is to make its entire archive, 212 years of material, available online as a paid-for service. The first phase of the online archive, comprising the Guardian from 1821 to 1975 and The Observer from 1900 to 1975, will launch on 3 November, the company said today.”

  • CNN reports, “A wide-open presidential race and a willingness by candidates, interest groups, unions and corporations to buy TV time will lead to historic spending for political and issue-advocacy advertising in the 2008 election cycle, an analysis shows.”

  • Boston Globe reports, “You may have heard of Second Life, the virtual online world that draws millions of aficionados every day. Now imagine a Second Life specifically for business, a world where workers can gather, share files, and communicate securely in a fully animated 3D office environment in cyberspace. Creating exactly that is what Justin Rounds does for a living. Rounds, 35, is a contractor for Sun Micro Systems in Burlington. He is one of the digital animators behind the MPK20 Project, Sun’s yet-to-be unveiled virtual workplace.”

  • E&P reports, “The death Sunday of journalist Salih Saif Aldin, the first Washington Post reporter killed in Iraq, will not spark a shift in the paper’s Iraq coverage or an increase in security measures, says Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., who contends that the paper has always sought as much protection for reporters there as possible.”

  • Newsmax’s Ronald Kessler reports, “While at the Daily News and previously the Washington Post, [Lloyd] Grove would receive up to 10 invitations a day to attend the most glistering celebrity parties. Now the invitations are down to a trickle, but he claims he doesn’t mind.”

  • Wonkette raises the topic everyone is dying to talk about (don’t deny it).

  • Time’s James Poniewozik writes, “If the Fox News formula is going to work at FBN, in other words, then FBN will have to be even more like CNBC — more excited, effusive and rah-rah — than CNBC is. Is that possible? Judging at least by the first few hours, it’s going to try its damnedest.”

  • From AdAge: “Media Guy Quits His Complaining and Offers Up a Few Well-Deserved Shout-Outs (No, Seriously, He Does, Really)”

  • AP reports, “AOL is eliminating another 2,000 jobs worldwide as it tries to cut costs and make room to grow in online advertising.”

  • Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow writes, “It’s a sign of the fragmented media times that Howard Kurtz’s ‘Reality Show: Inside the Last Great Television News War’ is mostly generating shrugs”

  • CJR has, “Salih’s Story”

  • The Independent reports, “CBS, one of America’s biggest radio and television networks, last week paid a reported $10m for little-known celebrity gossip blog”

  • Power Line reports, “Today General Ricardo Sanchez gave a speech to the Military Reporters and Editors’ annual conference, in which he criticized just about everyone associated with our effort in Iraq. The Washington Post’s headline was typical: ‘Former Iraq Commander Faults Bush.’ Actually, I don’t believe Sanchez ever mentioned Bush by name, although, as I say, he was critical of just about everybody. But it would be hard to tell from press accounts of Sanchez’s speech that he was mostly critical of…the press.”

  • Reuters reports, “Random House, the world’s biggest book publisher, is considering joining a book-search project run by Google, once considered an arch-enemy by the paper publishing industry.”

  • Chicago Business reports, “AT&T Inc. is laying the groundwork for an assault on Comcast Corp.’s local cable TV monopoly starting this spring, perhaps as soon as April.”

  • Ed Driscoll explores, “The Legacy Media’s Brain Drain”

  • Don’t miss “Editrix of the Trade: How to Keep Your Job and Your Sanity as a Female Journalist in Washington, DC,” tomorrow night.
    Panelists include Susan Glasser from The Washington Post, Kate Marsh from The New Republic, Sarah Blustain from the American Prospect, Laura Helmuth from Smithsonian Magazine and Christine Chen and Kate Palmer from Foreign Policy. For more info, click here.

  • AFP reports, “‘Are you ready?’ was the message from the world’s first TV-quality online TV network, delivered at this week’s MIPCOM audiovisual trade show. The network, Joost, launched this month just ahead of a clutch of competitors that include Italy’s Babelgum, offers legal rather than pirated entertainment for free, but raises new questions about what this will mean for the massive TV business.”

  • Reuters reports, “Companies will spend a record $31 billion this year to advertise everything from toothpaste to home loans on the Internet, supporting countless news sites, social networks, video exchanges and blogs. But some media veterans worry that expectations for online advertising may be getting out-sized.”

  • AP reports, “Gannett Co. said Monday it joined with Tribune Co. to publish and syndicate a weekly edition of USA Today outside the United States.”

    Hat Tips: DCRTV, TVNewser, IWantMedia, Romenesko, MediaBistro, JournalismJobs, JournalismNext