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

In character, one of Rob Pegoraro’s last “Faster Forward” columns for the Washington Post is on Digital Rights Management, aka “copy protection,” the scourge of e-book lovers for many reasons. DRMed books in the ePub format for iBooks—the Apple-created reading app for the iPad and related gizmos—are not readable on the Nook or on Sony […]

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Imagine working for a newspaper and vigorously knocking its iPhone app as a waste of money, even at $2 a year. That’s exactly what Rob Pegoraro, the Faster Forward columnist at the Washington Post, did without consequences—a good reflection on both him and his bosses. But it turns out that Rob is leaving the Post […]

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 […]

Does the Washington Post want to be an opinion rag for the rich or serve Washingtonians and Americans as a whole? Never mind the old adage that newspapers should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Here’s one indication that the Post is already a right-wing house organ on certain occasions. The Post published wacky […]

Do Ben Bradlee and other Washington Post luminaries actually use the iPad app they touted in one hoot of a promo video? I suspect so.  What’s more, since my mostly favorable review of November 9, I’ve usually read the Post via the app. I have even accustomed myself to the vertical swiping needed to see […]

So what’s “close”—the word that a TBD headline used in describing the Washington Post’s hyperlocal launch”? Psst! A Post source tells me he expects the launch to happen in the “late spring.” No, we’re not talking about a janitor in the newsroom. Ideally the Post can go public with a few more details to get […]

Update, 7 p.m.: Looks as if "close" is late spring 2011. – D.R. I hated the Washington Post’s hyperlocal edition for Loudoun County, Virginia. From multimillionaire horse-breeders to soccer moms, Loudoun is a whole series of communities—a point lost on the edition’s creators. Lumping the county’s hamlets and subdivisions into a single mishmash without decent […]

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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,” […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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Skimpy little items in the Washington Post and Politico, on the end of an Oregon inquiry into the sex charges against Al Gore, didn’t do justice to the ex-VP.  Given the seriousness of the charges and Gore’s prominence, wasn’t he worth more than those pathetic follow-ups? Check out a  far more detailed AP report in […]

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 […]

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. – […]

Newest member of the TBD blog network in the Washington area is is none other than the Georgetown Dish. It’s the same hyperlocal site I’ve been mentioning for some months now because of the fame of the neighborhood and the lively writing—and, yes, a founder named Beth Solomon. Georgetown is home to ex-Washington Post editor […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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Alan "Newsosaur" Mutter balked at paying the $450 that the San Francisco Chronicle wanted to charge for a "one-day run of a crappy-looking, 182-word death notice." So what does the Washington Post, here in the D.C. area, bill for such notices? "$9.21 per line, with a minimum charge of $64.47 (which includes up to seven […]

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 […]