On July 2 of last year, Politico broke a startling story: The Washington Post was planning to host off-the-record salons at which sponsors would pay to mingle with D.C. eminences and Post writers. The dinners--the first of which had been advertised in Post fliers as an “exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done”--were to take place at the home of Katharine Weymouth, the Post’s publisher. Weymouth, granddaughter of legendary Post owner Katharine Graham, had only been on the job for a year and a half.
Just before the new year, The Washington Post published the first piece to come out of its partnership with the “new independent digital news publication” The Fiscal Times (TFT). By 7 a.m. that morning, Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, argued that in publishing the piece The Washington Post had ceased to exist as “a serious newspaper,” and subsequently over a dozen wonks and academics called for the Post to end its partnership with the “propaganda arm for ideologues.” Why all the hubbub?
Politico owner Robert Allbritton is planning to launch a local Washington D.C news website, TNR has learned. In his most direct challenge to The Washington Post since launching Politico, Allbritton is putting former Washingtonpost.com editor Jim Brady in charge of the new Metro site, sources said. Details are still emerging, but this is what I've learned so far: The new site will feature a mix of original reporting, aggregation, and GPS-map features. The site will cover D.C and the suburbs, and echo Politico's aggressive, scoop-oriented focus. Allbritton's spokesperson couldn't be reached.
Today's New York Times includes a "post-script" to the paper's Sept.12 piece that reported on the resignation of Charles Pelton, the former Washington Post executive at the center of the salon-gate controversy. In July, Politico broke news that the Post planned to host private dinners at the home of Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth, where corporate sponsors could mingle with Post journalists and senior Obama administration officials and policy-makers in an off-the-record setting. In the original Sept.