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

Rashad Young, hired at $245K and now paid $266,508 a year, is leaving as Alexandria’s city manager to become city administrator for D.C. In my hometown of 150,000, Mr. Young has been pulling down a bigger salary than that of Vice President Joe Biden, paid $230,700. Across the Potomac, he’ll make $295K in his new […]

Sally Quinn-bashers have once again been at work—ridiculing an essay headlined Sally Quinn announces the end of power in Washington. Granted, Ms. Quinn has never delighted my inner Veblen. The essay among other things recalled the era when Quinn and her husband, Ben Bradlee, “might have attended five-course dinners a couple of nights a week, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

How will TBD.com, the Web news startup in the D.C. area, work with the more than 90 independent bloggers in its network? The TBD blog has some details, although I don’t notice any huge surprises, just good common sense in the post by Community Engagement Director Steve Buttry. For example: “We will provide headlines and […]

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Nope, TBD and affiliate bloggers, I’m not done yet. I have a few other ideas to try out this week—based on the failures and successes of  hyperlocal media outside the D.C. region. Why is a local blog network thriving, while the New York Times’ network couldn’t score big in the same geographical area? And in […]

Update, July 2: Here, including further comments from TBD. Thanks for listening. – D.R. The TBD Web startup for local news in the D.C. area has added Allergy Life in Loudoun, U Street Girl, Rockville Central and other blogs, pushing the number of network affiliates past 70. But I’m still not yet seeing enough commitment […]

Update, 1:47 p.m.: Post rival’s local news strategy—a Poynter Institute item. – D.R. My online friend Beth Solomon, publisher of TheGeorgetownDish and absolutely no relative of the Sy Solomon in my newspaper novel, got robbed. A thief carried off Beth’s purse, checkbook, credit cards, wallet, car keys, iPhone, Blackberry, everything, after she left her car […]

Jon Stone isn’t the only one Q & A-ing me these days. At George Washington University yesterday, I answered clueful questions from Asst. Prof. Christopher Klemek and members of his D.C. urban history class, including a young woman named Livia (did I get that name right for I-knew-her-when purposes?) who wants to run someday for […]

Update, 8:01 p.m., April 7: Gov. McDonnell has apologized for not mentioning slavery when he proclaimed CHM. – D.R. The N word and a racist zoning lawyer named Stonewall Lee show up in The Solomon Scandals. The main plot of my D.C. newspaper novel unfolds in the late 20th century, and I did not pretty […]

Update, March 19: Hooray! The Post app in its current form now lets you change type size more gracefully. Tap the screen while reading a story and you’ll see the options. – D.R. Seymour Solomon, the real estate magnate in my D.C. newspaper novel, is among the Washington Telegram’s biggest advertisers and pals around with […]

A new online newspaper, the TheGeorgetown Dish, is starting up right in the neighborhood of Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn and other VIP journalists. Beth Solomon—no relationship to the fictitious government landlord in The Solomon Scandals, thank you—is the editor and publisher. She has worked at ABC News and Voice of America among other places. Robb […]

The Solomon Scandals blog comes out of Alexandria, Virginia, just across the Potomac from D.C., and the novel itself is very much a Washington creature, as well as a Northern Virginia one. But oh how the local details can travel, so to speak. During the Watergate party in Scandals, a PR man offers boozy insights […]

Jonathan Stone, the reporter in The Solomon Scandals, grilled me for this Q. & A.—uncut. STONE: Why’s Scandals copyrighted in your name? Those are my newspaper memoirs. ROTHMAN: Er, faux memoirs. Without me, you wouldn’t even have been born…or have worked for the Washington Telegram…or have struggled to avert an IRS-CIA building collapse…or lived through […]

Washington, D.C., is a perilous place about which to write fiction. In more than a few of the guides to D.C. fiction, a major premise is that the Great Washington Novel has yet to be written or has already been written. Uh-oh. And no pleasing everyone. One student of the genre holds up Allen Drury, […]

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All the King’s Men has long been my favorite political novel. But is Robert Penn Warren‘s masterpiece truly about politics? Not in the opinion of Dick Meyer of National Public Radio, who, though describing it as "poetic and unforgivable," observes: …to say it’s about politics is like, well, saying War and Peace is about war […]

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Psst! Advance promo copies of The Solomon Scandals are on sale now in e-book format (retail $5.95 USD). Twilight Times Books is also taking advance orders for First Editions in trade paperback (retail $16.95 USD). The paperbacks will ship in January 2009. These are “pre-release promotional copies.” Twilight’s phone number is 423-323-0183, and other ordering […]