Author Archive for Erik Wemple

Farewell, Washington City Paper

About eight years ago, not long after I started this job, I called a bunch of colleagues into my office—maybe three or four of them. We dialed up Mike Lenehan, an ace editor who doubled as part of our ownership team. We put Lenehan on speakerphone from Chicago and proceeded to discuss for quite some [...]

WaPo: KJ’s Mom Says He Wasn’t a Womanizer in NBA

Sweeping negative statements are a minefield for journalists. Say you're interviewing a guy for a profile, and you ask him if he's ever gotten into any trouble. "Never been arrested," he replies. Before including such a claim in a story, you've got to hit the databases covering the entire country. And then you'll have to [...]

Washington Post, Kissinger Team Up on Reporter’s Access to China

The Washington Post has a visa problem.
Last year, Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli hired foreign correspondent Andrew Higgins to bolster the paper's coverage of China. Higgins, a veteran reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was a phenomenal get—he speaks fluent Mandarin and covered the Middle Kingdom in the late '80s, a tour that included eyewitness reporting [...]

Star Biz Reporter Jumps from WaPo to NYT

Binyamin Appelbaum, an anchor of the Washington Post's national business coverage for two years, is leaving the paper for the rival New York Times. Speaking of his soon-to-be employer, Appelbaum notes: "It's a phenomenal paper and and incredible audience and I'm really excited about working there. It's just a great opportunity."
When asked if his decision [...]

Weekend in Review—Crony Edition

As if D.C. Council Chairman Vince Gray needed another prod to jump into the mayor's race, the Washington Post came through for him on Sunday morning. Splashed across the top of page A01 is an investigative story about Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's relationship with key cronies Sinclair Skinner and Omar Karim.

One Vote Here for “River East”

As contributor Chris Lewis wrote in our feature piece this week, sides are forming in wards 7 and 8 over what to call their turf. For the longest time, "I live east of the river" has been the refrain. It's as stable a part of the District landscape as the Big Chair and the elegant [...]

Liveblog: Barry Slams “Inconsistencies” In Bennett Report

Embattled Ward 8 Councilmember Marion S. Barry Jr. is on the D.C. Council dais right now, fighting for his political life.
He just blasted the Bennett Report for "inconsistencies."

Weekend in Review—Silver Medal Edition

We'll read plenty of accounts about how well Team USA played in the Olympic puck tourney. And the goal that sent yesterday's gold-medal game against Canada into overtime was indeed one for the ages.
But here's what I am taking away: Let's move to 4-on-4 hockey full time. That's how the teams deployed in the [...]

Brauchli and Quinn: Anatomy of a Kill

It's not clear whether Washington Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli and Sally Quinn met face to face to discuss the killing of her column, "The Party." In a statement to City Desk, Brauchli said only that he and Quinn had "agreed" that the column would move from the print edition to online-only.
The possibility that Brauchli [...]

Haygood Bolts From Style

Wil Haygood, a towering narrative writer for the Washington Post's Style section, is taking a new job within the Post. After finishing up some outstanding Style assignments, he'll be heading to the National desk's enterprise team, which is headed up by Pulitzer winner David Finkel.
According to a Post memo: "Wil will train his unique voice [...]

Brauchli Confirms Print Death of “The Party” by Sally Quinn

After hours of frenzied calling and e-mailing and even a little Facebook messaging, City Desk has finally gotten someone in the know at the Washington Post to comment on the whole Sally Quinn situation. That would be the Executive Editor, Marcus Brauchli.
So much for the Brauchli Doctrine!
Moving to the subject on the minds of [...]

Breaking: Could “The Party” Be Over?

Update 2:28: Newsroom rumors are running fierce right now. But it's tough to nail any sort of confirmation on where the column stands. Will keep pounding.
Update 1:45: Have made several calls to the very top crust of Post newsroom management. No one is responding just yet. Have sent an e-mail and placed a phone [...]

Marion Barry: ‘I Should Have Known Better’

When Robert S. Bennett last Tuesday unfurled his findings on the transgressions of Ward 8 Councilmember Marion S. Barry, he ran into a stone wall. Accused of unethically steering a contract to his girlfriend, among other serious allegations, Barry contended that he couldn't have broken rules that didn't exist. "I'm a different kind of councilmember," [...]

Weekend in Review

Though much of the snow has cleared and is now flowing into storm drains, the Washington Post is still on the story, in an opiniony sort of way. Longtime Postie Vanessa Williams notes that Adrian M. Fenty the Ward 4 councilmember never would have swallowed some of the excuses Adrian M. Fenty the mayor has [...]

Style Editor Ned Martel Refuses to Comment on Horrible Sally Quinn Column

The buzz around town today is all about Sally Quinn's new low, aka a column in this morning's Style section in which she explains all about a wedding-scheduling snafu in her own family.
For all of you who have substantive things to worry about, this is what the piece was about: In recent days, there've been [...]