Posted on | January 30, 2010 | 7 Comments
So says Christian Josi, referring to the hiring of a new editor at The Washington Times. Paul Bedard, who was on the White House beat when I joined the Times in 1997, gives the lowdown on the new guy:
Dealey, a U.S. News contributor, is based in Washington, writing on national and foreign affairs. Besides contributing to Reader’s Digest, he writes frequently for publications such as GQ, Details, and The New York Times. Dealey has also reported from Africa for CNN and PBS’s NewsHour With Jim Lehrer. He is a media fellow at the Hoover Institution.
The Dallas native was a reporter for The Hill newspaper, an editorial board member at The Washington Times, and assistant managing editor of The American Spectator.
I’ve never met Dealey, and have no reason to doubt that he is everything he is cracked up to be. On the other hand, he’s only 36 and nothing in his biography suggests extensive managerial experience in a daily newspaper environment.
That was really the problem that sank Dealy’s predecessor, John Solomon, who had built his career as a reporter for the Associated Press and spent a year at the Washington Post before taking over the top job at the Times shortly after I left in January 2008. Whatever else his qualifications, Solomon had little managerial background and no experience of the distinctive culture of the Times.
Running any daily newspaper is a tremendous managerial challenge, and the Washington Times is certainly more challenging than most. D.C. is a very competitive news environment and being the underdog paper, going up against the Post every day, requires an extraordinary degree of mental toughness. Former editor-in-chief Wes Pruden’s long tenure in the job was as much a testimony to his cast-iron temperament as to his journalistic ability.
No matter what, Dealey starts off on the wrong foot with the newspaper’s staff. Bringing in an outsider to run the Washington Times newsroom — Dealey was on the editorial board of the paper, but never on the news staff — is an implied putdown of the guys who’ve been in charge of the daily news operation since Solomon quit in November.
All of which is to say that Dealey’s got his work cut out for him. I wish him luck. At least he’s not a damned Postie. That’s basically what prompted me to resign when I did. It had just been announced they’d hired Solomon from the Post, and one of my colleagues remarked, “If I’d wanted to work for a Postie, I’d have applied at the f—ing Post.”
Good point. I submitted my resignation the next day. My colleague stayed — and got laid off right before Christmas last year, along with dozens more who didn’t see the writing on the wall soon enough.