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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Can ageism save the old media? The Jawa Pos in Indonesia “will only hire someone if they are under 25 and you must retire when you hit 50—no matter what your seniority.” So reports Sarah Lacy in a TechCrunch article headlined Is Print Media Doomed Worldwide or Just In The US? For someone born December […]

In the 19th century the great change on the seas was from sail to steam, and in the newsroom during the 20th century, the big transition was from typewriters to computers and the Internet. Now a related neologism has popped up in the Urban Dictionary—typestolgia: “(n.) – A nostalgia for old manual and electric typewriters […]

The Molly Ivins play—remember, Molly was the uppity newspaper columnist with a dog named Shit and a sassy ‘tude to match—is a sure thing for Broadway if you go by the numbers from Philadelphia. Hey, brag, didn’t I think as much earlier? From March 19 through Sunday as reported by Michael Klein in the Philadelphia […]

Mediaite has it right. Halfhearted measures like a kind-of local blog network are not enough to protect the Washington Post’s domination of D.C.-area news and opinion. The  Post’s new blogger network is just a start and merely one measure; but it’s still a far cry from what I’d do in L Street’s place. Why no […]

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 […]

Virginia, where the governor honored "Confederate History Month" without at first even acknowledging the evils of slavery, has another winner on its hands. She’s Marsha Garst, Commonwealth’s attorney for Rockingham County, who let police raid the newsroom of a student newspaper and carry off hundreds of unpublished photos of alleged riot participants at James Madison […]

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Why wait for the original version of The Front Page to show up on The Tube? You can legally enjoy this Hollywood classic for free from the Internet Archive. As summarized there: “Hildy Johnson (Pat O’Brien), newspaper reporter, is engaged to Peggy Grant and planning to move to New York for a higher paying advertising […]

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Face it. Human journalists have flaws, and I don’t simply mean typos and other atrocities in print and online. Pity female reporters. Just now I read on Twitter that editors should look around the office, concede the obvious and probably assign all fashion stories to freelancers (a rather unfair gibe if you factor in staff […]

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I mourn the decline of traditional newspapers, like The Telegram in The Solomon Scandals, despite their many flaws. How many paper dailies—not just individual copies of them—will end up as trash? And, yes, as many in the industry believe, Google is responsible to a great extent, but not in the way you might think. Google’s […]

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 […]

Related: Media critic James Fallows and Google News’ Josh Cohen will discuss digital-era journalism tomorrow, Wednesday, at 6:30 p.m., in D.C. What if reporters didn’t take over from newspaper publishers, the tease I posted earlier? Suppose someone else did, Google. One old newspaper alum, Jeff Jarvis, has even written a book called What Would Google […]

The Solomon Scandals is a reporter’s novel, with editors and the publisher in the way of truth and decency. If nothing else, an ideological chasm gapes in the newspaper business between editorial coolies and publishers. Reporters tend to be far, far more liberal at many dailies than are the publishers. So what to make of […]

In The Solomon Scandals, I have a little fun with a hyperspecialized Yalie named Rexwood Garst, a reporter at a Washington Post-type newspaper. “Serbo-Croatian,” says this young resume jock who lives in a converted carriage house in Georgetown, “that’s the key. I know how to speak it.” It all jibes with my suggestion that the […]

Firing back at the New Republic’s Gabriel Sherman, Dana Milbank at the Washington Post is spot on when he says the death watch on the Post newspaper is premature. I’ve given my own two cents on survival strategies. That said, Milbank needs to remember that the Washington Post Company’s priorities are less journalistic and more […]

A black mongrel dog scampers across the stage, “dragging a leash and a canoe paddle.” Her owner yells for the dog by her proper name, “Shit”—an ever-handy expletive for a Texas oilman’s red-headed daughter, grouchy about the status quo. This is the populist journalist Molly Ivins at home, in a new play by Margaret (Peggy) […]

Good news: Editor & Publisher, the bible of the newspaper business, is back from the dead and will be published by Duncan McIntosh. Mark Fitzgerald, an E&P veteran, is the new top editor. Online reporting has resumed, and a February issue will appear. Duncan McIntosh is  a boating magazine publisher—it also organizes boat shows. Separately […]

So what’s ahead for TheGeorgetownDish—the new Web-based newspaper in the D.C. neighborhood where so many high-powered media types live? How can I not be curious when the publisher is named Solomon? Beth S. writes back: “We are working hard to create a world class site for Georgetown. As we perfect TheGeorgetownDish, we will be looking […]

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 […]

I love newspapers, but I’m not sure if that’s always returned. As a journalist friend put it, quoting a popular song in discussing The Solomon Scandals, “Sometimes when we touch, the honesty’s too much.” Whatever the case, it’s sad to hear of the passing of Editor & Publisher, the bible of the newspaper trade—begun 108 […]

More than a little hatred of the Internet lingers among certain elite journalists, and not just over copyright issues or job losses. The Net—with so much of a focus on pure information, as opposed to the social standing of the people delivering it—tends to reduce class differences. Despite the clues that the attentive can pick […]

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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 […]

The CEO of giant WPP Group—a global ad-agency holding company with major financial firepower and a fondness for acquisitions—complains of too many newspapers and magazines. Might Martin Sorrell, shown during a BBC World interview on a different topic, be badmouthing the old media while quietly hoping to snap up a few publications during the Great […]

Sy Solomon the imaginary real estate tycoon is pals with the imaginary George McWilliams, executive editor of the imaginary Washington Telegram. Along the way, Sy is also one of the Telegram’s biggest advertisers. But at the very least the newspaper in The Solomon Scandals cares about the appearance of a wall between the editorial and […]

The corrupt Washington Telegram in The Solomon Scandals is, mercifully, fictitious. But in real life, some newspapers are selling out in a different way—by diverting money from their newsrooms to jack up profits and please Wall Street. So much for the Net as the only major villain. Here’s an excerpt from The Withering Watchdog: What […]