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

Everything inside me is hoping that no one attacks the towers of BRAC-133, aka the Quarter Pentagon (which unfortunately will house 6,400 defense workers just off the I-395 freeway in Alexandria, Virginia, rather inside a secure military base). But a “sustainable development” news release from a Los Angeles firm gives us an idea of who’d […]

In The Solomon Scandals,  my Washington novel, a reporter says he became one so he wouldn’t have to strangle in a necktie. So what’s the reality in D.C. today? Alas, even among many members of the Fourth Estate,  the tie is hardy dead—and, worse,  the real power people won’t even think of going tie-less on […]

With so many local libraries facing cutbacks, the case for a well-stocked national digital library system grows stronger each day. At TheAtlantic.com  I’ve written of the possibility of a decentralized public library system existing within the Library of Congress but run by librarians in many cities, so that Washington does not dictate to America what […]

Something bizarre is happening at Politics and Prose, and perhaps a few other bookstores in the Washington area—and therein may lie a lesson for the Washington Post. These booksellers are prospering, even as many others across the nation are closing or cutting back. Sales at Politics and Prose have zoomed from $3 million two years […]

Does the Washington Post want to be an opinion rag for the rich or serve Washingtonians and Americans as a whole? Never mind the old adage that newspapers should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Here’s one indication that the Post is already a right-wing house organ on certain occasions. The Post published wacky […]

Of course. ”The wrong Edwards ran for president.” Elizabeth Edwards abounded with the positives, especially moral ones, that I found wanting in her husband, who often reminded me of the slick Southern lawyer in the movie version of The Devil’s Advocate. The real tragedy isn’t just her fatal cancer or John’s infidelity. Rather it’s that […]

Do Ben Bradlee and other Washington Post luminaries actually use the iPad app they touted in one hoot of a promo video? I suspect so.  What’s more, since my mostly favorable review of November 9, I’ve usually read the Post via the app. I have even accustomed myself to the vertical swiping needed to see […]

For The Solomon Scandals I created a fictitious Virginia county with fictitious crooks. Across the Potomac River in Maryland, I didn’t bother with all the niceties. I just called the county by its real name of “Prince George’s,” and my reporter-narrator told of driving past “row after row of grubby garden apartments—the legacy of developers […]

The Washington Post’s iPad app is finally out. No, The Product isn’t quite the equal of the rival New York Time app unveiled in the spring and refined since then. But the Post’s video promo leaves the Times’s marketing in the dust. I test-drove the iPad app today and suspect that Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward […]

So what’s “close”—the word that a TBD headline used in describing the Washington Post’s hyperlocal launch”? Psst! A Post source tells me he expects the launch to happen in the “late spring.” No, we’re not talking about a janitor in the newsroom. Ideally the Post can go public with a few more details to get […]

Update, 7 p.m.: Looks as if "close" is late spring 2011. – D.R. I hated the Washington Post’s hyperlocal edition for Loudoun County, Virginia. From multimillionaire horse-breeders to soccer moms, Loudoun is a whole series of communities—a point lost on the edition’s creators. Lumping the county’s hamlets and subdivisions into a single mishmash without decent […]

Might American newspapers and journalistic Web sites be too quiet these days? Here I’m not talking about silence on Afghanistan or the budget deficit. I mean the rooms—the amount of noise or lack of it.

The Charles E. Smith family built the giant Crystal City complex near Ronald Reagan National Airport and donated hundreds of millions to good causes, most of them probably in and near Washington. Names from the family went on the Charles E. Smith Athletic Center at George Washington University, the Robert H. Smith School of Business […]

If I ruled the world and the Washington Post, you would have been able to read the paper on a genuine iPad app months ago. But fear not—either about my ruling the world or about the lack of a Post iPad app. The paper will release an iPad edition “before the end of the year,” […]

Congratulations to TBD.com and sex-and-gender blogger Amanda Hess, who owned up to the goof of the century or at least of the year. In sharing an HIV-related statistic, Ms. Hess meant to write about men having sex with men. She dropped the “n” in the last word. You can read more details via TBD, MediaGazer, […]

As if the stolen glasses weren’t enough, Jonathan Franzen is in the news for not making the final cut in the National Book Awards. I myself have mixed feelings about Freedom, but mostly like it. Granted, events and outcomes happen with a little assist from coincidence. But you can accuse Dickens of the same. What’s […]

How much coverage of Quinn Bradlee’s wedding is enough in the Washington Post, where his father was the Watergate-era editor and his mother’s picture still graces the On Faith Web page? I’ve noted that the actual wedding, as opposed to the fuss over the dueling weddings, received just three sentences originally and then just three […]

Well, the Washington Post has now published more than three sentences about the Quinn Bradlee-Pary Anbaz Williamson wedding festivities this week. The police showed up at 12:30 a.m. Monday in response to a Georgetown neighbor’s noise complaint about D.C.’s wedding reception of the year. So the Post’s Reliable Source gossip column generously doubled the total […]

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 […]