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Posts Tagged ‘Howie Kurtz’

Politico Steps Up Their Video Game

Politico is doubling down on their video production efforts with the debut of a new, snazzy “Driving the Day” video series featuring Anna Palmer, Manu Raju, Alex Burns, and Jake Sherman. Much of the Washington-based media, including The Hill, WaPo, USA Today, and Politico have already made forays into digital video -with middling results. Poor audio quality, along with on-screen talent better suited for print have been hallmarks of the online political video genre. But Politico‘s latest venture -complete with theme music and cable net-style intro sequence -is a marked escalation in production values over their competitors.

It’s no surprise that the political media would be eager to put their talent in front of cameras. It’s good business. Indeed, Politico pioneered a web-to-cable strategy that is largely credited with their meteoric rise to prominence. The website is housed in the same Arlington office building as fellow Allbritton Communications property WJLA ABC 7, and was able to take advantage of the station’s satellite hook-up to feed their reporters remotely onto the cable news channels.* The result was an explosion in name recognition for the brand as well as for the stable of reporters who could easily offer analysis on MSNBC or CNN without those networks having to do the work of bringing them in-studio.

Now, all the other DC pubs are following suit and web videos are a part of the strategy -essentially serving as sophisticated cable news audition videos for print talent. But Politico is still at the leading edge. Palmer, Raju, Burns, and Sherman are hardly as television-ready as say, Patrick Gavin -who was one of top contenders to replace Howie Kurtz on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” but Politico clearly believes in them enough to give them a platform to develop their skills.

*Update, 2.19.14, 8:26 PM: It should also be noted that Politico had a partnership early on with “Face the Nation” and CBS News which resulted in John Harris, Jim VandeHei, and other Politico personalities making many appearances on that network prior to and coinciding with appearances on cable channels. 

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In Case You Missed It: DC Bikers In, Silent Film Out

Meet Mark Leibovich’s Monster

image004As the clock struck 5:16 p.m. Wednesday, the email blast arrived. Or rather, Kurt Bardella, one of the star monsters in NYT‘s Mark Leibovich‘s summer blockbuster, This Town, had risen from the ashes or the lava (Hollywood will figure out the proper visual). Meet Washington’s latest entrepreneur. Meet the town’s former Washington insider, the headline blared. Bardella is starting his own strategic communications firm, strategic being the key word, in that he gets to chose his own “adventure.”

Within mere moments, Politico‘s Jake Sherman, whose own emails may have leaked their way to Leibovich’s inbox for the book via Bardella’s untrustworthy fingertips, tweeted the news. And there Bardella was: out there in the aftermath of a book that would make him both famous for Washington and as infamous as one of the book’s other main characters, Tammy Haddad.

Back in April, I was in the grips of yet another White House Correspondents Dinner pre-party, not Tammy’s to which I’d been pointedly not invited. This one, an unusual warehouse party in Georgetown thrown by National Journal. I didn’t notice a whole lot of White House correspondents outside of ABC’s Ann Compton. One of the more interesting details about the party was that the toilets on the main floor were malfunctioning, so attendants stood outside the restrooms telling guests that they’d have to wait. Or better yet, they’d have to fight their way upstairs to the V.I.P. floor to use the commode. Upstairs, the smell of urine wafted into the hallway.

image002Back downstairs, I ran into Bardella who had flopped into an easy chair on the far side of the room. I’d known Kurt since his days in Rep. Brian Bilbray‘s (R-Calif.) office and had always enjoyed our interactions and found him helpful. By this point, it was well known that Bardella would figure into Leibovich’s book. So I asked him about it. Was he nervous, worried? Would he be embarrassed? While he wouldn’t comment at all on the record, he indicated that he might at a later point and went into a myriad of thoughts I can’t repeat because of our off the record agreement. But one thing I was instantly struck by was Bardella’s ultra-relaxed manner about the whole thing. He knew this was coming. Everybody knew this was coming. And his body language screamed that he didn’t have a care in the world about it.

Fast forward seven months, here we are at Bardella 2.0. Or is it 3.0.? The “2″ might’ve been when his former boss, House Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), temporarily fired him in February, 2011, and he went to work for The Daily Caller while simultaneously writing op-eds for Politico, the publication that got him fired in the first place for leaking those emails to Leibovich for his book. It was Editor-in-Chief John Harris who spoke with Issa and pushed him on whether his own reporters’ emails or phone calls had been improperly shared.

At the time, in a Sunday letter to Issa, Harris wrote, “The practice of sharing reporter e-mails with another journalist on a clandestine basis would be egregiously unprofessional under any circumstances,” Harris wrote. “As the editor-in-chief of POLITICO, my concern is heightened by information suggesting that POLITICO journalists may have had their reporting compromised by this activity.”

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Love Child: the Fantasy Kids of D.C. Media

Love is in the air.

And in honor of Valentine’s Day, we have something special in store. All day long, we will be mixing and matching members of the Washington D.C. media (with a sprinkling of political and national media elsewhere) to discover what their offspring might look like if such a spontaneous combustion of events were to happen.

So Happy Valentine’s Day Fishbowlers. Enjoy!

We begin with Lauren Ashburn, founder of Daily Download, and CNN and Newsweek-The Daily Beast‘s Howie Kurtz, who sits on the Daily Download‘s board. Ashburn and Kurtz co-host a video show on media topics of the day. We wondered what their offspring might look like and here’s what happened. We’ve named him “HowieBurn” but he can change his name later if he wants.

 

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

Are cabbies devils in disguise?

“Cab drivers in DC may be some of the most soulless human beings on the planet.” — The Hill‘s Alexandra Jaffe at 2:39 a.m.

A BuzzFeed reporter’s bout with insomnia

“BREAKING: There is no ice cream in my house, yet I am still up and stuff. THIS IS A NATIONAL TRAGEDY.” — BuzzFeed‘s Chris Geidner at 3:43 a.m. Minutes later at 3:51 a.m. he added, “ALSO: @dcbigjohn is like, the best, EVAR. He’s the boss of being a boss. And making my life awesome (minus ice cream).” He was referring to BuzzFeed D.C. Bureau Chief John Stanton.

Colby Hall notices Lindsay Lohan’s boobs

“A bra-less @lindsaylohan is rapt with attention as she casts her gaze on @TheWANTED playing live at #z100jingleball.” — ClearChannel‘s Colby Hall. He links to this picture.

From the Dept. of Bragiculture…

National Journal Editor-in-Chief turned National Reporter Ron Fournier (or should we blame CNN’s Howie Kurtz for this?) got us all choked up this weekend (or rather, choked us) with Fournier’s vanity piece on his son’s Asperger’s syndrome and the access Fournier got to two ex-U.S. Presidents. On CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” Fournier explained that his editor, who sometimes plays psychiatrist, urged him to write the piece. Good news: Fournier paves the way for journalists to use their personal experiences and guilt to ramp up their careers. And isn’t this cathartic for all of us? Noted a Washington editor to FBDC, “Fournier’s behavior would qualify as just the usual vanity of journalists if this weren’t about his son. But it is. Which makes it unseemly bordering on obscene.” Bad news: We have to keep hearing about it. “Watching more CNN than I ever have waiting for @ron_fournier#lovethatboy” — wrote a fan named Abby4nier (i.e. his daughter). To which Fournier replied, “Making good choice.”

From Ron and Sara Bonjean’s Xmas party… “Dom DeLuise does not know Ron Bonjean raided his closet.” — Public Relations Consultant and ex-TWT Editor Sam Dealey. More on the party and Bonjean’s flower bombed purple blazer later and we’re talking about Ron, not Sara…

Unnecessary Tweet of the Day

“Video storytelling, when executed well, can be very emotionally compelling.” — NBC Washington cameraman Jim Long. Indeed, such sage advice.

Peter Ogburn and Eddie Scarry contributed to this report.

See the humblebrag… Read more

Ask Piranhamous Anything

Today we have another installment of: “Ask Piranhamous Anything.” And we do mean anything. Send your queries to FishbowlDC@mediabistro.com. This isn’t an advice column — Piranhamous doesn’t know what the hell you should do with your life any more than you do — and worse, he doesn’t care. Try to keep your questions short — we want to keep this fun, simple and insightful.

1. Which journo would you most want to spend the holidays with?

Dear God, do I have to? I’m fairly certain Hell would be filled with more cheer. But since I’m obligated to answer, I’ll put it to you this way – depends on the holiday.

Hanukkah – Chris Hayes, Ezra Klein, Dave Weigel and the rest of the Boy Banders. Some are Jewish, some aren’t, but that doesn’t matter because I’d imagine it would be an 8-day bender. Come to think of it, any 8-day stretch with them is probably a bender, and it would be a lot like hanging out at a hipster bar after all the hipsters moved on because the wannabes started outnumbering them. And I value my IQ points too much to emerge myself in that much MSNBC so I’ll just limit it to one MSNBCer and revise my remarks to Al Sharpton. This may seem like an odd choice but I think picking up all the remarks he mutters under his breath each of the 8-days would be amusing.

Christmas – Bill O’Reilly. Aside from the embarrassing gang on Fox & Friends, no one has done more to defend Christmas from idiots who seem only to engage in their “War on Christmas” to get publicity for their fringe group no one has ever heard of before or will hear from again than Bill. And I imagine the whole day will be spent tackling anyone who tries to TP a pine tree since he never stops.

Kwanza – Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Schultz. Why would I pick the two whitest men on the planet next to Sean Hannity to spend a little-known, radical separatist black holiday with?  Because I think they’d try to celebrate it to prove they’re multi-cultural and would have no idea how to do it. Can you imagine anything more amusing than watching them trying on Dashikis and trying to mean it? I can’t.

Boxing Day – Howie Kurtz: For no particular reason.

Or course this is all moot, or at least most of it, since the world is ending on Dec. 21st. So I’d just like to say thank you to the Mayans for saving me from this Hell.

2. Do you have high hopes that Jeff Zucker will really shake things up at CNN? 

Am I supposed to? I don’t have high hopes that the guy who sucked up NBC and re-unleashed Katie Couric on the world will be able to patch the hole in that Titanic. He’d have a better shot, and I’d probably actually care, if he were one of the Zuckers who brought us the movie “Airplane!” But he’s not, so I don’t.

Read about reporters sleeping with their sources… Read more

Ask Piranhamous Anything

Today we have another installment of: “Ask Piranhamous Anything.” And we do mean anything. Send your queries to FishbowlDC@mediabistro.com. This isn’t an advice column — Piranhamous doesn’t know what the hell you should do with your life any more than you do — and worse, he doesn’t care. Try to keep your questions short — we want to keep this fun, simple and insightful.

1. What did you think about the president going on The View? Are the ladies smart enough to interview Obama and what show should he do next?

What do I think of it? I’m not surprised. The President has spent most of his campaign wrapped in Nerf, talking mainly to friendly media fielding softball questions. Why not do The View? Especially when the alternative is to, you know, do his job. I’d rather a president meet with allies who are interested in stopping Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, but I’m old fashioned like that. Why bother with Bibi Netanyahu when Whoopi Goldberg is available? They’re both Jews after all, right?

2. Should a State Dept. spox be able to tell a reporter to “fuck off” and get away with it or not?

I don’t want to live in a country where anyone can’t tell anyone else to “Fuck off!” and get away with it. That said, “fuck off” is much worse than telling reporters to “Kiss my ass!” yet that was a story reported endlessly when a Romney spokesman did it. And I’d really hate to have a country where a shitty video is blamed for riots and murders it had nothing to with and the man who made it ends up in prison on bullshit charges of probation violation because President Obama needs a scapegoat to distract from his national security failures. Wait, I guess we have a country like that right now. Oh well, fuck off!

3. Who’s the best interviewer among these three and why: The Daily Beast and CNN’s Howie Kurtz, CNN’s Piers Morgan or Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart?

Dear lord, that’s like picking the guy you want to rape you in the prison shower – it’s going to be a horrible experience any way you look at it. I guess I’d pick Jon Stewart, but only because it would remind me of the old SNL skit “The Chris Farley Show” where he knowingly asks uninformed questions and just rambles. Howie and Piers ask uninformed/stupid questions but think they’re smart, at least Stewart admits he’s a joke.

Corn Gets Woodward Stamp of Approval

Say what you will about Mother Jones Washington Bureau Chief David Corn, but over the weekend he got the nod from journalism’s Big Daddy. That would be WaPo Associate Editor Bob Woodward, on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Howie Kurtz.

Kurtz in typical nerdy Howiesque fashion, tried to open the door for Woodward to say something unseemly about Corn, suggesting, at least by his question and intonation, that there was possibly something wrong with the way Corn obtained and released the video of GOP hopeful Mitt Romney spouting off at a private fundraiser.

“Quite the opposite,” Woodward declared. …”It’s a big scoop and one of the important campaign stories of the year.”

Politico Rescues Romano from The Beast

The Daily Beast‘s Howie Kurtz may have convinced longtime WaPo reporter Lois Romano to join him at The Beast in April 2011. But now, not even a year later, she has left him for Politico. In a notice today that appeared on the site’s On Media blog, brass announced that Romano has been hired as a senior political reporter. They call her one of “Washington’s most accomplished” journos.

“Lois’s presence in our newsroom will allow us to do types of stories that in the past might have been out of our reach,” writes Editor-in-Chief John Harris.

Romano spent 28 years at WaPo.

See the internal memo…

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Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day: The Moon Edition

To the Moon, Newt

“THEY ARE STILL DEBATING GOING TO THE MOON.” — The New Yorker‘s Washington writer Ryan Lizza.

“This portion of the debate is about colonizing the Moon. Just wanted to point that out.” — ReutersSam Youngman. He added, “I’ve been saying for years that the way POTUS is neglecting the Moon is shameful.”

“Shocking amount of #mooncolony talk tonight.” — NBC TODAY Show’s Savannah Guthrie.

Praise for Wolf Blitzer

“That’s right Wolf, get in Newt’s ass. I love this. Wolf is soooooo much better than Jon King.” — NYT‘s Charles Blow. He added, “I knew that I shouldn’t have had that 3rd drink before watching these debates.”

And a critic…“This wife stuff is embarrassing. #cnndebate” — Actress Mia Farrow.

A breath of fresh air: Ron Paul

“Ron Paul is like a palet-clearing sorbet between six courses of mud.” — The Daily Beast‘s Lloyd Grove.

Meanwhile…WaPo Express Editor discusses sex act

While most Washington reporters were fixated on last night’s debate, WaPo Express’s Clinton Yates was out on the town talking dirty. “At dinner with the gf, her friend and other friends of friends. One is certifiable. What a nightmare,” he wrote. “We’re at a Mexican restaurant btw. Arriba! This woman is trying to impress us with her knowledge. Next term: fisting! She’s so hip.”

Hair and Makeup

“I think each candidate should be given an electric razor and be allowed to cut one opponent’s hair anyway he wants.” — National Review Online’s Jonah Goldberg.

“Does Callista’s hair ever move?” — WaPo‘s Right Turn blogger Jennifer Rubin. Chicago Book Editor Beth Renaldi remarked, “Callista Gingrich’s hair never moves. #cnndebate.”

“Callista’s makeup is looking a little more natural tonight. #CNNdebate Kurtz” — The Hill‘s Howeesha Kurtz (a.k.a. Judy Kurtz).

Really Howie?

“Wolf: Why would your wife make the best first lady? All eyes will be on Newt for his Callista answer.” — The Daily Beast/Newsweek‘s Howie Kurtz in the most painfully obvious observation of the night.

Birthweek: Maureen Orth

“Missing the #FLDebate for @LukeRsmom birthday dinner. The only disagreement here is what flavor ice cream to get.” — NBC Congressional Correspondent Luke Russert referring to his mom, VF’s Maureen Orth. (h/t Luke Russert, h/t Mike Allen for h/t)

A special Happy Birthday to C-SPAN’s Communications Director Howard Mortman. From his colleague Steve Scully: “Howard is an incredibly hard worker…in the league of Chuck Todd and Mike Allen. As he gets another year older…he also looks much older than Todd or Allen. But we still love him. In fact I remember him when he was ‘Extreme’ Mortman. Those were the days. :)

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