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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…

At WCP, he had written about WaPo extensively, at times skewering them to the wincing degree for which the publication is known. “At least not even close to the degree that I once did,” he said. Wemple planned on letting the ombudsman deal with those things. But given his lengthy post on Brauchli’s memo, we asked if he had a change of heart.

“I wrote a while back about copy-editing at the Post and certainly feel that it’s fair game to include Post journalism in broader stories about campaign coverage and the like,” he said. “But as far as the more detailed, insiderish reporting that I used to do, no—I don’t come close to that level of inquiry. In fact, I try to stay away.”

But on this issue, Wemple can’t steer clear. In fact, he said, he thought he’d “be hurting the blog” if he didn’t cover newsroom cutbacks.

Note to readers…we’re not suggesting Wemple wears an inordinate amount of pink or that he acts like a monkey. We just think the image depicted roguish behavior.

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