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 […]

The New York Times, whether on global warming, the newest iPad or corruption in Mongolia, outdoes the Washington Post all too often. Underfunded for a hyper-competitive Internet era, the Post newsroom stints on local reporting, too. WaPo’s numbers could be much better. Future Grahams and others may not show the patience of Donald and kin. And the current […]

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, […]

Video by rhidoyakash California, not the Washington, D.C., area, is where  Americans go if they want to flirt with the apocalypse, at least the seismic kind. Man-made disasters here in Northern Virginia? Well, there was 9/11 at the Pentagon several miles from me—Target Zero, of course, during the Cold War. But in Alexandria, we locals […]

Film as perfect budget-crisis metaphor? As generic rhetoric, some in Washington may talk of  a “perfect storm” of chaos in the American and global financial markets if Republicans and Democrats don’t raise the debt ceiling by August 2. I myself, however, am thinking precisely of the book and movie title based on the meteorological term—yes, […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Fueled by AOL money, the Patch hyperlocal network has started up Washington-area sites in Riverdale Park-University Park and College Park. Some well-credentialed media people are Patched in. Maryland Regional Editor Amy L. Kovac-Ashley, for example, is a seasoned Columbia J school grad who among other jobs worked for the Washington Post’s LoudounExtra.com offshoot. Talk about […]

My thoughts on hyperlocal news—prompted by the forthcoming launch of TBD, the Web and TV combo for the D.C. area—have drawn visits from some powerful news organizations. While they’re at it, perhaps they can check out A national information stimulus plan: How iPad-style tablets could help educate millions and trim bureaucracy—not just be techno toys […]

A little birdie with tiny rabbit ears growing out of its head—an older cousin of the Twitter mascot—tells me that the new TBD blog network is encouraging members to get Skype video going. Then the bloggers can appear on TBD cable TV, not just online, at the request of the news gods. No, the Skype […]

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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 […]

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 […]

Washington is full of people telling others how to live their lives or at least wishing they could. Same for the media world. I call it the Mink Stole Ladies Syndrome, based on a party scene in The Solomon Scandals from the D.C. of several decades ago. Sally Sterling Quinn, with her judgmental dissections of […]

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 […]