Sunday, February 05, 2006

Deborah Howell to Focus Locally

UPDATE: Hmmm... Could my opinion below be wrong? Well, quite a few people I respect think so. It's clear I made a mistake being so emphatic, so I retract it. Because as people have said today, where's the beef, the proof of what I offered? So, let me just say this, I think Ms. Howell's new "local focus" is an attempt at "changing the subject," as one person put it, away from hot topics like Abramoff. Respectfully retracted, including the title. - TM

Alert the media! The New York Times will now be a category on “Jeopardy.” John Roberts quit CBS to join CNN. David Marash was fired from “Nightline” when ABC went MTV on news, to be an anchor of the new English-speaking Al-Jazeera Intl., which will have a large Washington bureau. And another Sunday goes by with the blogger panel missing, all because we busted an ombudsman. It's as if bloggers have disappeared from the conversation, wiped from the media memory, at least as far as the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz is concerned. Oh, and did I mention that Ms. Howell lost her national beat?

So, another Sunday, more silence, as Kurtz's “Reliable Sources,” the microscope on all things media, retreats from new media and the web, replacing the blog panel with sports, not to mention that Kurtz is no longer reporting on anything Post, not even when a major move occurs.

The glaring omission of the story responsible for this sudden shift in Kurtz's show is one thing, but when that glaring omission also gives way to the person it revolved around getting her beat slashed, well, let's just say "Reliable Sources" needs a new name. So since Howie is into reporting on the Times, maybe he could just add a slogan: "all the news I feel like reporting."

Seriously, The New York Times starting a cross promotion campaign with "Jeopardy" gets a mention, while the issue of the Post's ombudsman being taken off national news doesn't?

Deborah Howell, in a stealth move without a mention, has been quietly demoted to the local beat, because bloggers nailed her on inaccuracies through a comment section that was eventually nuked, but Kurtz doesn't think it's worth a mention.

Hey Howie, who's your mommy?


Blogger Zappatero said...

Howie said Bush had no bold new statements in the SOTU, and because of that it was boring.

Dana Milbank ignorantly agreed. He's getting this Chris Matthews kind of "it's all a game" attitude.

Byron York also agreed, but he's evil.

All three of them seem to have forgotten Bush said we are addicted to oil.

We all know it's a joke. But could one of them at least held Bush accountable for his flat out lies? I know I'm asking a lot.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howell's right though, in a way. For those of us who live in and around Washington, the Post is our local paper. As a local paper, it's not so great. Its true interests lie in national and world news. If Howell is supposed to be looking out for her readers' interests, which I think is exactly what she's supposed to have been doing all along, then she should be pushing to have the Post's Metro coverage improved.

Keep up the good fight though.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Avedon said...

I actually thought the real news here was that, once again, Howell is suddenly introducing a new subject that, as near as I can tell, did not come from reader response, which is her job.

Instead of an ombud who takes seriously complaints of readers about the paper, we have an ombud who seems to complain about the readers - in this case, readers who only write in about national and international issues rather than global issues. She wasn't addressing whether the Post's coverage of local issues was any good, remember, she was talking about who writes to the ombudsman.

An ombudsman's job is to hold the organization or industry s/he works in to account, not the customers.

4:33 AM  
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