Thursday, January 8, 2009

Beltway media gossip

Last month, Jeffrey Birnbaum -- who's worked hard to alienate every reporter at The Washington Times since being hired from the Post in August -- decided to endear himself to the newsroom by telling C-SPAN that the newspaper lacked "real journalistic standards" before he arrived at 3600 New York Avenue.

Former managing editor Fran Coombs sent Birnbaum a letter and -- mirabile dictu! -- a copy of Fran's letter wound up in the hands of US News "Washington Whispers" columnist (and former Washington Times White House correspondent) Paul Bedard:
I remain one of The Washington Times 's biggest fans and wish you and [executive editor] John [Solomon] all the best in an extremely difficult business environment. Let me suggest, however, that you build on the newspaper's proud accomplishments rather than belittle them, and let history be the judge of the work we did. I look forward to celebrating yours in 20 years.
BTW, Birnbaum makes claims about Web traffic trends that aren't borne out by Alexa.com statistics:

The paper's Web traffic got a spike during the election, but everybody got a spike during the election. Birnbaum's claim of "a record traffic month in December" is certainly not apparent from the Alexa graph.

In slightly related news, media gossip columnist Patrick Gavin is leaving the Washington Examiner and FishbowlDC to join the Politico.

UPDATE: Linked at Fishbowl DC, which also has John Solomon's memo about the latest reassignments at The Washington Times.

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