Posted on | January 17, 2013 | 13 Comments
You may recall that I attempted to quit The Washington Times in August 2007, and was persuaded not to do so by Wes Pruden and Fran Coombs. Well, Wes and Fran are leaving now, so I suppose now is as good a time as any for me to go.
My last work day in the office will be Wednesday, Jan. 23, though cleaning out my desk may take a few days longer. . . .
As I said at the time, it was as if God said, “Go.” If nothing else, this spared me the bizarre dramas that have ensued at The Washington Times, which is now on its fourth editor in five years, after wave after wave of layoffs and sundry other embarrassments at what I’ve begun calling the People’s Democratic Republic of 3600 New York Avenue.
A totalitarian ethos of paranoia has evidently taken hold in management, prompting one staffer to remark to Fishbowl DC’s Betsy Rothstein:
“Don’t you just love a media company that has an absolutely strict policy against ever talking to the press ever?”
It’s weird. Other news organizations that didn’t even exist five years ago have started from scratch and eclipsed the Times in importance, despite the triumphant air with which the paper announced the hiring of John Solomon as editor in January 2008, heralding what management proclaimed would be a new era of glorious success.
The newspaper was in utter disarray by the time Solomon left in 2009, and now — further demonstrating the brilliance of management — Solomon is back with the title of “Chief Digital Officer.”
Chief Digital Officer.
Let’s think about this. While getting paid as CDO by the Times, Solomon has been promoting his own project, The Washington Guardian — which you never heard of until you read this, right?
As of 8 p.m., the Twitter feed for the Guardian had 512 followers.
Maybe you see what I’m getting at here.
It’s not really pleasant to watch a news organization being “managed” into oblivion, but it is what it is. And God said, “Go.”