The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, November 19, 2004

Washington Post: lower circulation? lower standards!

For anyone blogging US politics, the Post is your banker: it's slightly less in the pockets of USG (OK - it has Dana Milbank) and content does not disappear behind a money-grubbing pay-wall after five minutes.

Like most US papers, its dead-tree circulation is on a gentle downward path. Somewhere, I read that young Washingtonians prefer to get their Post fix online: zero cost, no piles of newsprint to dispose of.

But - executive editor Leonard Downie's fix - according to the rag itself is this:
In an effort to win new readers, Downie said Post reporters will be required to write shorter stories. The paper's design and copy editors will be given more authority to make room for more photographs and graphics.

Now, sometimes a picture really can be worth a thousand words. And a map can often come in really handy.

But mostly the photos printed are not photojournalism: they are there for layout reasons, to break up the 'intimidating' walls of text to make the look of the paper less forbidding to the casual reader. Eye-candy.

Of course, if what was being dropped was USG anonymice and other shilling exercises, all well and good...

(The same piece kicks off with reports of bellyaching over the fact that Downie's new deputy will be a white man. They could have spun the story as the Post finding its misplaced cojones. But that really would require cojones...)

MORE (November 22)

A fraught staff meeting helped Howell Raines out of the door over the Jayson Blair fiasco, as I recall. And Leonard Downie had a mauvais quart d'heure - or a little longer - with the sectionally aggrieved elements of his troops over his choice of Phil Bennett as managing editor.

The Washingtonian piece also refers to Bennett's relationship with one Susan Glasser - a touch of the Judith Millers there, perhaps? Wonkette has nothing.

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