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

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 […]

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, apparently with an unrelated issue in mind. I appreciated the Moran response and will let readers judge for themselves. I’m […]

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, apparently with an unrelated issue in mind. I appreciated the Moran response and will let readers judge for themselves. A […]

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 […]

The chilling aftermath of the 1973 Skyline high-rise collapse in Falls Church, VA—where 14 workers died and 34 suffered injuries—shows up in the video below. In The Solomon Scandals, I fictionalized the tragedy. As recalled by one firefighter quoted by Channel 9’s Dave Statter, rescue crews would “stand along the top of the collapsed debris and […]

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 is a novel, but two actual events helped inspire it and are the topics of online gossip today—several decades later: —The deadly Skyline Towers building collapse in Northern Virginia, where 14 workers died and dozens were injured. —The late Sen. Abraham Ribicoff’s secret and illegal investment in a CIA-occuped building in Arlington. […]

Much of The Solomon Scandals is about conflicts between friendship and duty. A rickety high-rise may tumble as a result, with hundreds of IRS and CIA workers inside. Washington has a culture of traded favors, one reason why Congress and the Interior Department unwittingly let the oil spill happen in the Gulf. And how about […]

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 […]

"Men won’t succeed in literature that they may get into society, but will get into society that they may succeed in literature." – Jasper Milvain, the social-climbing journalist in George Gissing‘s New Grub Street, his classic about the London literary world more than a century ago. Question: Substitute “Web,” “Facebook” or “Twitter” for “society,” and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Daniel Schorr’s acuity seemed to grow with age, perhaps because he had that much extra history stored in his brain to compare with the news of the day. Sympathy to his family and friends. The photo is of Mr. Schorr with Scott Simon, his colleague at National Public Radio. Now a question for the media. […]

A little birdie with tiny rabbit ears growing out of its head—an older cousin of the Twitter mascot—tells me that the new TBD blog network is encouraging members to get Skype video going. Then the bloggers can appear on TBD cable TV, not just online, at the request of the news gods. No, the Skype […]

In 2004 Baristanet—the lively hyperlocal network that helped inspire similar operations in several states—started writing up picnics, schools and other neighborly news in Essex County, NJ. Some five years later, The New York Times set up shop with blogs for Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange, all in the same county. Last month one of the […]

Update, July 19: This should probably be online by 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight tonight. Lots to say! – D.R. Hey, did you think I’d stop at How TBD could use hyperlocal journalism to kick the Washington Post’s butt? The strategy ideas for the Post will appear here over the weekend or on Monday. The same […]