The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large

I’ve poked at the TBD hyperlocal site for not having enough civic-oriented blogs in its network—the Washington area is heavier on hobby-focused sites. As a citizen-reader, I suggested to contacts at TBD and the Washington Post that they take a good look at the Lincolnia Hills & Heywood Glen blog in the Alexandria-Fairfax County area […]

Is more on the way? Or is this it? So far I’ve spotted just three sentences in today’s online Post about D.C.’s most-talked about society wedding this year—the union of Sally Quinn’s and Ben Bradlee’s son with a yoga instructor. As a long-time Postologist—with no incredible inside connections these days, but certainly with enough words […]

Seen the wedding announcement in the New York Times? By the time you read this, Josiah Quinn Crowninshield Bradlee and Pary Anbaz-Williamson may actually be man and wife. The wedding was set for today at the Washington National Cathedral (mentioned in The Solomon Scandals, complete with a moon-rock reference). He has worked on videos and […]

Update: Jim Moran has since told me there was no quid pro quo, that the Indiana real estate developer’s contributions were part of an arrangement by which the developer contributed to many people at once. I appreciated the Moran response and will let readers judge for themselves. You haven’t heard the last from me about […]

Will AOL’s Patch hyperlocal network drive out locally owned news sites here in the D.C. area and elsewhere? Tibby Rothman—no relative–has written an L.A. Weekly piece quoting Timothy Rutt, a blogger in Altadena, California: “It’s a Walmart moving in and driving out the mom-and-pop businesses." I’ve got mixed feelings. I share Rutt’s concerns and also […]

Credentialism: A few months back I groused about credentialism in media and elsewhere, and I also urged the Washington Post to care more about the nonelite rather than Slate-izing excessively. Among Scandals’ characters is the resume-fixated Rexwell Garst, the Yalie who, of course, lives in a converted carriage house in Georgetown. Now here’s the 25-year-old […]

TBD.com’s hyperlocal site is drawing more local Web traffic than WUSA-TV and the Washington Examiner and may close in on the Washington Times and Fox’s D.C. outlet—-if you go by area Web statistics from a major measurement service, Experian Hitwise . But in local audience size, TBD is a long way from threatening the online […]

Update, September 20: The Washington Post tells me that it prefers to stick to Nielsen statistics in public. I’m checking to see how easily available the stats are to the world at large, and if Nielsen can share any server-based numbers from the Post. I’ll also do other follow-up. – D.R. Should news sites hide […]

Right here in the Washington, D.C. area, TBD is one of the most-watched rolls of the dice in American journalism. TBD stands for “To Be Determined,” a hyper-logical way to cover the news and run a site. Here’s to follow-ups, of which the American press does far too few, especially on grubby local stories! I’m […]

In The Solomon Scandals, George McWilliams runs a word-mill at the fictitious Washington Telegram—using his Rolex to time reporters writing stories or pumping news sources on the phone. A little at odds with the style and conduct of most executive editors today? Definitely. But that’s Mac, come down to D.C. from New York after careers […]

Jack Shafer, the Slate “Press Box” columnist, is mourning the “fallen status” of the traditional paper book, which he thinks technology has devalued. As a contributor to the troubled medium—Scandals is available as a trade paperback, not just as an e-book—I have an obvious stake in this. Shafer may be thinking especially of hardcovers, but […]

TBD’s new hyperlocal Web site for the D.C. area is no great shakes so far in the visitor count department, but it’s too early to pass judgment. That’s what I wrote last month. Well, TBD is still a long way from seriously threatening the Washington Post’s  local supremacy after just a few weeks, but as […]

The Solomon Scandals, my D.C. newspaper novel, is solidly rooted in Washington and suburbs. But could future Jonathan Stones break explosive Washington stories without even leaving hometowns in the hinterlands? That’s one of the intriguing concepts in a video accompanying Investigative Shortfall—Mary Walton’s generally downbeat article in the American Journalism Review’s September issue. The video […]

Late to the hyperlocal series in the Solomon Scandals blog? In reverse order, here’s a list of key parts. —How hyperlocal journalism can help big media grow closer to local communities, just posted today. —TBD D.C.-area news site not a steady riser in early Alexa stats. But let’s wait for the full story. —Crisp, lively […]

Update: Other hyperlocal-related posts here. I killed my Washington Post subscription several years ago, one of millions of Americans to give up on printed newspapers. My Reason #1 was the trash factor. But many readers have other, less friendly explanations. More than a few trust the press about as much as they do HMOs, banks […]

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Check ‘em out. Might this one apply to some commentators’ reaction to the false sex accusations against WikiLeaker Julian Assange? Via Dan Bloom.

I’ve been rooting for TBD, the D.C.-area hyperlocal news site that some journalists regard as a savvy canary in the coal mine. Will frequent updates and a link-heavy neighborhood–by-neighborhood approach, tied in with local bloggers, be the future of metropolitan news? I really hope this experiment works, just as I wish success to other hyperlocals […]

Here’s a question that the debut of TBD.com, the new hyperlocal site written up in Howard Kurtz’s media column today, makes all the more timely. Just when should a reputable Web site—or maybe even a paper newspaper—publish rumors? TBD’s people have expressed a strong interest in guiding readers to the truth; and the operation is […]

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More and more localities are turning to the iPad as a paperwork-reducer, says USA Today. And that’s new ammo for the Information Stimulus Plan that I’ve proposed here and in Jim Fallows’ blog on the Atlantic Monthly site. Encompassing areas ranging from healthcare to education, the plan in effect would redirect resources from paperwork to […]

A Washington Post alum enjoys The Solomon Scandals blog but wonders why the devil I use “L Street” when referring to the Post. After all, isn’t the paper at 1150 15th Street, N.W.? Well, once upon a time, the Post’s official address was in fact 1515 L Street. And, maybe in tribute to Londoners’ old […]

In judo, you can use a big guy’s weight against him, and the same applies in business, especially the news kind. Reading the Washington Post story on the TBD local news startup—which will compete against the Post, AOL’s Patch local network and the Washington Examiner—I couldn’t help but think “judo.” This morning TBD is reaping […]

Fueled by AOL money, the Patch hyperlocal network has started up Washington-area sites in Riverdale Park-University Park and College Park. Some well-credentialed media people are Patched in. Maryland Regional Editor Amy L. Kovac-Ashley, for example, is a seasoned Columbia J school grad who among other jobs worked for the Washington Post’s LoudounExtra.com offshoot. Talk about […]

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Skimpy little items in the Washington Post and Politico, on the end of an Oregon inquiry into the sex charges against Al Gore, didn’t do justice to the ex-VP.  Given the seriousness of the charges and Gore’s prominence, wasn’t he worth more than those pathetic follow-ups? Check out a  far more detailed AP report in […]

The Patch neighborhood news network—the screenshot’s from a New Jersey site—is coming soon to some Virginia and Maryland suburbs. Yet another sign that the Washington Post needs to get more serious about hyperlocal? And how about the growth of another hyperlocal network, Examiner.com? Or the latest book on the Post, which, although a “valentine” on […]