City Desk

Weekend in Review: Hard Times at the Paper Moon

The saddest part of a palace coup is when the soon-to-be-defeated king yells, "Guards, seize him!" But the sentinels don't move, and the tyrant realizes all the maneuvering has been for nothing. That's how I imagine it went down at the Washington Times late last week, when Politico's Patrick Gavin reported that publisher Jonathan Slevin's contract wouldn't be renewed.

Turns out, Slevin hadn't been getting along with new editor Sam Dealey. In his goodbye email, Slevin accuses Dealey of leaking to other reporters, and laments that he never got the opportunity to groom him.

Slevin doesn't like the paper's two-member board, either–he writes that they've visited the paper's office on New York Avenue a combined total of one time.

What to do if you're a Slevinite newbie without a patron? Slevin has some ideas:

1) Work collaboratively throughout the company; 2) Respond to the marketplace by putting digital first, radio second, and print products third, flowing onto newsprint as the outcome of first meeting the 24/7 customer digital demand; 3) Disperse authority in the newsroom throughout, structuring foremost to serve a digital audience. Recognize that the era of the newsroom as separate and supreme empire and editor as emperor is over.

Aw, new media bromides that even Lee Abrams wouldn't touch? How is that going to help people avoid becoming casualties in the Moon family's fratricidal war? You'd be better off attending peace festivals.

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