The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large
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How could I have written a newspaper novel like The Solomon Scandals without a chain-smoking editor? Kamikaze levels of tobacco and booze use helped certify newsroom denizens as manly risk-takers several decades ago, the time period of Scandals. Women were part of the scene by the 1970s, but they tended not to partake with such […]

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What counts more for Web-era writers of news or opinion? Coming up with snappy, credible, well-researched articles? Or improving dialogues with readers, in the best tradition of the Internet’s interactivity? Short of cloning themselves or pulling off a Philip K. Dick android act, writers for many of the most popular news sites lack enough time for […]

The presses still roll at thousands of newspapers throughout the world, but for how long? And meanwhile this video from the Internet Archive, via the Atlantic site, reminds us of the days when news stories were “locked up” in the most physical way—in lead columns. The Solomon Scandals takes place around 1980, and back then, […]

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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Pete Hamill is out with Tabloid City, a New York newspaper novel commanding its share of pixels, column inches and decibels. If the rest of Tabloid City is like the first parts, I could never have written his book, just as The Solomon Scandals would have been impossible for him—we see life,  newspapers and fiction […]

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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 […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Update, Nov. 5, 2010: I’ve disabled the iPad mode for the moment but will probably bring it back when I have more time to experiment. I still love the idea. – D.R. Own an iPad? Go to this post if you’re not reading it on your Pad already. In iPad-style splendor, you can see an overview of […]

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. […]

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 […]

Update, Aug. 19: TBD’s current coverage is a long way from what I propose below. The Alexa Web traffic measurement service is hardly scientific, and besides, TBD has just started up; but if the service on the mark, the new site is far from an instant success. I lack access to TBD’s internal stats. – […]

You already know if you’ve been following the Solomon Scandals blog. My name is David, I’m a newsaholic, and I’m cheering for the TBD news startup to thrive here in the Washington area. But will topics like sports and food elbow aside civic matters at times because of the personal passions of TBD’s affiliate bloggers? […]

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 […]

Give iPads to all members of Congress? That’s the recommendation of Melissa Bluey, the Atlantic’s assistant art director, who correctly notes the general cluelessness of our solons on technological matters. It would be a good start, but we really should go beyond that with the iPad Stimulus Plan discussed here and earlier in the Atlantic […]

Apple has sold some three million iPads in 80 days, according to the latest news from the company. Many thousands of books are now available for the iPad and the newer iPhones and iPod Touches through Apple’s iBooks app—including The Solomon Scandals. But three million is still a small number compared to the total U.S. […]

I know—I’m a few days behind on the Helen Thomas controversy—but I wanted to reflect. This was a little close to home. I respected the maverick side of Ms. Thomas even if her White House questions were often activist rather than journalistic. At one point I  tried to see if she’d read Scandals for a […]