City Desk

Washington Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell: Taking a Shortcut?

Throughout her tenure as ombudsman, Deborah Howell has made the calls, studied the data, and found the documents that feed an informed take on the paper's controversies. She's a reporter, through and through. And any good reporter knows when to take a shortcut, even when the topic is reporting. Here's a little note she sent yesterday to the Post newsroom:

(sent to: ALLNEWS)
I'm going to do the column on reporting this week if any of you have some tales to tell. I want to write about the importance of reporting, what makes a good reporter and why I worry about there being fewer and fewer of them. Thanks for any help. — HOWELLD 11/18/2008 11:03:14 AM

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  • Dave

    And I should care about this because...

  • Jim

    You should care about it, Dave, because it shows just how much more petty the City Paper becomes with each passing day. Instead of maybe waiting on the ombudsman column to come out, Wemple would rather assume that Howell is taking a shortcut. Instead of trying to find out how often Howell asks her newsroom colleagues for input on her column (probably quite often, considering what she writes about), the City Paper would rather pat themselves on the back for this "scoop." It's kind of sad. Especially considering the shortcuts that appear on this blog every day. Including this silly post.

  • thefrontpage

    That's not a shortcut--that's reporting. When you report, you ask people for input. Any reporter, author, writer, researcher, does exactly what Deborah is doing. It's called reporting. It is not a short-cut. You owe Deborah, who is a very good Ombudsman, an apology.

  • Jim

    I'm curious: Now that you've had a chance to read the Deborah Howell column, Mr. Wemple, who do you think took the more egregious shortcut? The ombudsman looking for advice from reporters or you in posting her e-mail and calling it her taking a shortcut?