The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Washington Times Fires Editor; ‘National Search for a Permanent Replacement’

Posted on | November 20, 2010 | 10 Comments

Interesting news about my former employer:

Sam Dealey will be stepping down as editor of the Washington Times, following the sale of the paper to a group led by members of the paper’s old guard who were ousted a year ago, sources close to the paper tell POLITICO.
Dealey was informed this afternoon. The change is scheduled to be announced tonight. Sources say that Managing Editor Chris Dolan will step in as acting editor-in-chief while the paper’s new owners conduct a national search for a permanent replacement. . . .

Probably looking for someone with reporting and editing experience who knows how to boost online traffic, stuff like that.

UPDATE: Fishbowl DC

[I]t remains unclear what kind of talent the struggling paper can attract.

You’re freaking kidding me, right? Editor of a daily newspaper in the Capital of the Free World?  Lots of people would crawl through glass for a chance like that.

UPDATE II: Romensko has the press release from the newspaper:

A national search for a new editor will take place in the coming weeks to identify and recruit a newsroom leader to carry out future plans for The Washington Times.
These plans call for The Washington Times news coverage to expand with the return of sports, metro and entertainment sections. These will complement the Times’ respected coverage of government, politics, national security, intelligence, economics, geopolitics, culture/religion and opinion that has been its strength over the past 28 years.
The Times also will increase the availability of its content through multiple media channels, including, radio and television.

Permit me to offer six simple suggestions:

  • First things first: Hire an editor-in-chief, with authority over the whole paper, like Wesley Pruden had. When they hired John Solomon (which was when I quit), they split the job, so that Solomon was only in charge of the news side of the operation, while the opinion/commentary sections were under separate editorship. This diminished the stature and authority of the top editor, who no longer spoke for the paper as an institution, as had been the case when Pruden was the boss.
  • Second: Run lean and mean. Rather than hiring a bunch of full-time staffers, hire freelancers under contract — and short-term contacts, at that. Offer a 90-day contract at, say, $2,000 a month plus productivity bonuses based on the number of articles published, the number that make the front page, the number that get Drudge-linked, etc. You can get a heckuva lot of reporting a lot cheaper that way — saving money on health insurance, benefits, etc. — and the reporters who make a good showing under those terms could then be considered for full-time openings if and when those become available.
  • Third: Bring back Andrew Breitbart as a weekly columnist. The stupidest thing that John Solomon ever did was to let Breitbart go.
  • Fourth: Hire Shirley & Banister to do your publicity. They’re the best, and the total cost will be less than whatever you were paying your “marketing” department. Exactly what the heck that department was supposed to be doing all those years, I honestly don’t know, but it wasn’t working.
  • Fifth: Give Victor Morton a raise. God knows he deserves it.
  • Sixth and finally: Stop getting scooped on your own beat. Why is it that the best place to learn about personnel decisions at The Washington Times is always Fishbowl DC? If who gets hired and fired at the Times is so doggone newsworthy, why isn’t the Times reporting this stuff first?

Just some suggestions. Not that I know anything about the newspaper business or anything like that . . .


Comments are closed.