City Desk

Meet Your New Washington Post Ombudsman

As of this month, the Washington Post ombudsman position is no more, replaced by a saccharine-sounding "reader representative" to be named later. It's the end of a 43-year tradition...or is it?

"We know that media writers inside and outside The Post will continue to hold us accountable for what we write" Post publisher Katharine Weymouth writes in her memo on the end of the ombudsman. As a service to Post readers and the District at large, then, Washington City Paper is happy to take up Weymouth's invitation and announce that we will be providing our own ombudsman for the area's newspaper of record: me.

Starting today, I am your new Washington Post ombudsman. Concerned about a potential plagiarist? Mad about the Post's search engine? Something about Ezra Klein just rub you the wrong way? Email me at, or call me at 703-594-9142. (It's a 703 number because the Post these days feels a lot like a suburban paper.) Check back for my first column later this afternoon.

Inspired by the legacy of my predecessor, Patrick Pexton, I will continue to report hard on the Post, treat readers with respect, and wear mustard-colored sport coats. Unlike Pexton, though, I'm not committed to keeping people from  canceling their Post subscriptions. In fact, even if you aren't mad at the Post, you should probably ditch your subscription and hold out for a better deal from LivingSocial or Groupon to roll around—and I will tell you as much. It's the least your ombudsman can do.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • Citizen

    Too bad Will, with the velocity the Post has reached circling the drain your tenure is likely to be short.
    Post employees must cringe every time they get one of Weymouth's memos.

    I guess Patton Boggs won't be hiring disgraced heiresses Katherine.

  • J

    Hilarious - I look fwd to reading it

  • B.

    Can we start with just how absolutely terrible the WaPo website is?

  • Typical DC BS

    Sorry, The Post has gone the way of far too many inside the Beltway and think left-wing liberal politics plays well outside this area or the coastal regions. They are becoming irrelevant because they stopped being journalists and became too focused on serving up their propaganda that they thought their subscribers should adhere to.

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    The Washington Post will be around long after the City Paper folds up. And every clueless idiot with a keyboard who wants to moan about how terrible it is, or how liberal it is, has no clue how much better it is than 99% of what's out there, or how it does a far better job of covering politics and government than it ever did. Look, you've even got a right-wing nutjob commenting here. "Serving up their propaganda." Just like Fox News told him.

  • Jrw

    Oh Citizen and TDCBS, have you not read the paper that employs Will, the Washington City Paper?

    Pick it up for free to read the first few and the last paragraphs of the cover story and then spend hours reading the ads like a true typical DC BS-er.

  • Reader

    Will you look at this? -

    I'm a bit surprised the City Paper hasn't referenced it so far - that I've seen.


  • Will Sommer

    Hi Reader,

    I did look into that after seeing it on Unsuck D.C. Metro. For me, the smoking gun there would have been if it was in the print issue and then disappeared online. Otherwise, for me personally, I had to give the Post the benefit of the doubt that the changes were the difference between the story written up right after the meeting and then a revised draft for print (and, later, to replace the first version on the web).

    When I confirmed that the version without the more damaging quotes is what ended up in print, and the Post said it was just part of the editing process, I realized I didn't have enough to run a story.

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  • Rich

    It's funny to see the usual rightwing spam in the comments. The Post supported the Iraq war and all the retrograde economic ideas supported by the Right. The paper combines two problematic approaches to management--MBA and family business gone to seed.

    The new "representative" will be just another hack.

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  • Dave Burton

    Will, your email address doesn't work:

    Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

    Technical details of permanent failure:
    Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain