City Desk

Day Three at City Paper: Meet, Well, Me

I joined the Washington City Paper family this week, replacing the beloved Jule Banville, the recently departed asst. managing editor and D.C. brunch-culture-hater who was kind enough to leave in her office some very important things, such as an AP Stylebook, two dictionaries and a bottle of Tylenol. She left a rotten banana, too, but I think that was a mistake.

Please allow me to make this, my inaugural City Desk blog post, an introduction of sorts.

I come to you via reporting stints both near and far. Looking back, I’d have to say the highlight of my first journalism job, in 1995, was the time I asked a Prince George’s County public information officer out of gruff-cop central casting for an update on the condition of a homicide victim ("She's still dead!" he laughed, and then said it again for good measure, causing me to turn a shade of purple I have tried very hard to avoid since.).

At The Hill, writing a feature for a special retail section, I once cornered Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to find out where he shopped for bargains – seriously, I asked him that – and I was scolded and scorned, right there in the House of Representatives’ Speaker's Lobby (I am afraid of Barney Frank to this day).

At the Baltimore Sun, I wrote about public education, public health, the D.C. area sniper – remember that? – the U.S. Potato Board and, one time, myths about George Washington's false teeth. As the Sun’s Moscow bureau chief, yes, I got to go inside the Kremlin, but the best thing I did was leave one of my now-deceased cat Alphabet’s hairs inside Lenin’s tomb.

For the last year and a half, I have been reporting not on your Washington, but the other Washington. You know, the federal Washington, the Big Important Washington, the Washington which, if I were a bolder person, I would confess right here and now to hating at least half the time, probably more. But I enthusiastically embrace the switch – this is the Washington where real life goes on, after all – and what better time to come aboard? A journalist friend said the other day of this city's fine Ward 8 councilman, Marion Barry, whose most recent exploits have been cataloged by City Paper better than anywhere: "Barry is the news gift that never stops giving."

Look for the latest on City Desk and in tomorrow's print edition.

Off to do some journalism now...

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  • Will

    And Georgetown's grip on City Paper grows a little bit tighter

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Jule who?

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    Let's all do brunch on Sunday!!! Baltimore is a real city - you'll do fine in this sleepy Southern plantation / rich kids' camp.

    Seriously! Let's all do brunch on Sunday!!! I will kinda miss the old antibrunchite...

  • Q™

    Geez Angry Al, she just got the job and you're already hitting on her. Give her chance to survey the area (and do background checks, seriously) first. Welcome aboard Erika. Those in the WCP Blogosphere are a rowdy bunch.

  • Erika Niedowski

    I'll brace myself.

  • Q? for Q

    Is 17 people (the approximate size of the "WCP Blogosphere," based on the paucity of comments on this blog) enough to get rowdy? Is 17 people enough to call it a "bunch"?

    This posting has to be close to a record with its avalanche of comments.

  • Jule Who?

    The City Paper's disgruntled have, in the past, left dead fish in the drop ceiling. I, however, can assure you the dead banana was pure oversight. Sorry, Erika. Enjoy the Tylenol... and Angry Al.

  • Joel Lawson

    Good writing; good start. After covering Washington, welcome to DC. As a friend and Wilson Bldg. regular said to me: "it's endlessly entertaining."

  • Q™

    Q? for Q...I guess I must've inadvertantly inflated the blogosphere count, in attempts to help "sell her" on the job. LOL! 17 huh? I think the Creative Loafing Media folks won't be happy with that. Still, like the cast of SNL, an ensemble of folks is enough to get rowdy, especially with "guest" bloggers. Maybe WordPress can give some statistics, but to my record, the longest comment stream from a WCP article is 400+. Maybe Erika won't get an avalanche for this one, but all she has to mention is Barry, Fenty, Corruption, Racism, Same-Sex in the same article and she'll easily get at least 50 responses. Those key words fit Joel's "endlessly entertaining" description.

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