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

Yes, I mean real footnotes, not just endnotes—so readers will actually read them. The Solomon Scandals contains two endnotes, and one of them involves a dog, Harry S. Truman, and the New York Times. Read the novel for the full lowdown here. I disagreed with the Times about the Truman-related details. But in many if […]

Did Harry Truman really say, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”? Or maybe “buy a dog”? In The Solomon Scandals, an eloquent Afghan named Thackeray II quotes that line in a Truman act at the Cosmos Club. But he gets corrected by Prof. Rebecca Kitiona-Fenton, author of the foreword and afterword […]

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If you love video games—fine. But will the Washington Post, New York Times and a good part of the rest of the media please stop forcing me to play them? If I don’t move my cursor just so, I end up seeing an overgrown ad rather than an article. That’s good for a newspaper’s exposure […]

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,” […]

Philip Roth was an evil literary influence on me. I don’t write like him, but love his sarcasm, irony and well-crafted dispatches from the battles of the sexes, the very stuff that unsettles Leah Hager Cohen, author of a favorable New York Times review of Nemesis, Roth’s latest novel. Ms. Cohen until recently despised Roth’s […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, 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 […]

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In The Solomon Scandals, Jon Stone reflects on sports team preferences as an indicator of character. George McWilliams, the executive editor at the Telegram, Jon’s paper, comes from Brooklyn but grows up rooting not for the Dodgers but the Yankees. Mac favors winners. If McWilliams were real and alive today, would he be following the […]

How good are newspapers as corruption-fighters or -preventers? As noted in The Brass Check, a Chicago Tribune reporter actually tried to discredit The Jungle, Upton Sinclair‘s fictionalized depiction of the Chicago Stockyards. Fairly or not, one survey found that four-fifths of Americans do not believe most of what’s in the New York Times—perhaps not so […]