Tag Archives: Washington Post

The love for Donnie Simpson continues

Washington Post reporter Lonnae O’Neal has a really good article about the return of Donnie Simpson to radio.

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The most eagerly anticipated hour in Washington radio memory (if not history) began Monday to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” then morphed into the theme from “Welcome Back, Kotter.”

Well the names have all changed since you hung around

But those dreams have remained and they’re turned around

Who’d have thought they’d lead ya (Who’d have thought they’d lead ya)

Back here where we need ya (Back here where we need ya) . . .

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back

[Donnie Simpson returns to D.C. radio after a five-year absence]

Finally came the voice of Donnie Simpson: “Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way. I’m back!” said Simpson, 61, sounding like an old friend. For weeks, Simpson’s return on Radio One’s Majic 102.3 FM after a five-year retirement has had D.C. buzzing. Not official Washington, mind you, or new-transplant Washington (read: young, white). But old-school D.C.

Can you dig it, CC?

Don’t worry if you don’t get the reference. Donnie will catch you up.

Simpson — loved, especially by the ladies, who took ardent notice of his green-eyed soul — had been a constant companion and cultural translator for 33 years as a radio and television host.

“I think he’s going to bring old-school and class back to radio,” gushed Marsha Thomas, a Maryland Public Television producer stopping by the “Donnie’s back” tent outside the radio station’s studio in Silver Spring, Md. “No one is more DMV than Donnie Simpson.”

He also hopes to be back on TV, hosting a show on Radio One’s cable channel, TV One.

Check out the entire article at the Washington Post.

Front page news

The front page of The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post feature news items from yesterday including the arrest of the six police officers charged in the murder of Freddie Gray.

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Wendell Pierce’s column about Baltimore

Actor Wendell Pierce has a column in the Washington Post this week about how artists like himself can help to change the way young people respond when tragedies like Freddie Gray happen in their communities.

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Wendell Pierce starred in HBO’s The Wire and Treme. The Wire took place in Baltimore. He mentions the similarities between Baltimore and his hometown of New Orleans.

I’m not a native son of Baltimore, but the city welcomed me and became a second home during the seven years I lived there part-time filming “The Wire.” I know the neighborhood where Freddie Gray’s tragic death took place. I recognize the residents, who may be materially poor but are spiritually rich. And I feel the parallels between Baltimore and my hometown of New Orleans: majority-black cities struggling to emerge from years of economic decline and high unemployment.

Both have police forces that have been repeatedly accused of abuse, overstepping their boundaries as civil servants and responding to the people they’re sworn to protect as if they had no civil or human rights. In the case of both cities, citizens have had to watch as outside interests invest in and develop parts of their cities without the involvement or interest of lifelong residents. It seems, sometimes, that gentrifiers think they’ve discovered and rescued some treasure that no one else recognized or valued. And when they see rioting, of the kind that we saw this week in Baltimore, it only reinforces their perceptions. But nothing could be further from the truth.

He also states:

Ask economist Nouriel Roubini, who explains that in response to this crisis, the solution “can’t just be to send more police in the streets or the National Guard,” but instead, “We have to deal with this issue of poverty, of unemployment and economic opportunities.”

His column also mentions how the city of Baltimore has taken from the poor and invested heavily into the tourist area of the Inner Harbor, how he’s praying for Baltimore, his hometown of New Orleans and other cities, how their needs to be a trust created between the people and elected officials and continue to tell the untold stories of those who feel their voices don’t matter.

Check out the entire article here at the Washington Post.

The Washington Post and the metro melee coverage

I read an interesting column in the Sunday Washington Post this morning by the Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander.

Brawl on the Metro: Where was the coverage?

By Andrew Alexander
Ombudsman
Sunday, August 15, 2010; A11

Post managers, from the top down, regularly remind the newsroom that coverage must have a “for and about Washington” focus. So when a large brawl broke out in the Metro system on a recent Friday night, it seemed a perfect chance to show local readers that The Post is their indispensable source for news.

His column discussed the complaints received from readers about the lack of coverage the Post had relating to the teen brawl that took place on the metro last Friday, August 6. He’s right, the coverage was very sparse.

On deadline, The Post gathered enough information for a news brief in Saturday’s paper, and a short story was quickly posted online.

I didn’t see anything about the melee in my Saturday paper. What I saw online Saturday was mostly in blog format, not a news article.

Throughout Saturday, it was among the most-viewed stories on the Web site, signaling intense reader interest. But as the day wore on, some readers grew frustrated that there was nothing more.

They did publish a story in last Sunday’s metro section but it wasn’t a lengthy article.

When a story for Sunday’s paper finally did appear, it offered little new. Promoted on the front page and tucked at the bottom of Sunday’s Metro section, it didn’t answer key questions: What caused the fighting? Were the people who were injured participants or bystanders? Was Metro beefing up security?

Why such thin coverage? Much of the explanation is that The Post responded with too little, too late.

So with a local news staff of about 70 reporters, why not call in reinforcements? Robert E. Pierre, the weekend editor for local news, said he saw no need. “It wasn’t about additional people,” he told me, noting that social media searches and an online appeal for witnesses had yielded little. And, he added, “the police didn’t have very much,” and what little information they disclosed was sketchy. The size of the crowd was in question, he said, and police couldn’t say how many were actually brawling.

The Post finally published a front page story on Monday, August 9 which included a family who witnessed the melee and a young man injured when riders fled the train. I was glad to see this on the front page because it is a major news story considering that thousands of folks take the metro everyday. But you know what? According to Mr. Alexander, Robert Pierre, the weekend editor for local news felt that last Monday’s front page story was given too much prominence.

When The Post finally produced a more substantive story for Monday’s paper, Pierre believes it was given too much prominence, even though it included eyewitness descriptions of multiple fights and bedlam as people tried to escape the pandemonium. The Post “overplayed it,” said Pierre. “It was a fight on the Metro. Kids get into fights.”

Say what? Dozens of teens are involved in a huge fight on the subway on a Friday night while dozens of metro riders look on and the weekend editor considered the front page story overkill? And you know why he felt that way. Cause kids get into fights. Would Mr. Pierre have said the same thing if those kids had gotten into fights with random adult metro passengers? Robert Pierre was also concerned about the racial aspect of the story. Give me a damn break.

Is Robert Pierre afraid of the reaction from black readers? Black folks take the metro too and many of us are sick and tired of the behavior of kids like those involved in the melee. We don’t all condone bad behavior. Is he afraid of some “so called black leaders” protesting in front of the Post if he puts more emphasis on this story?  Who cares? Let them sit on the train with the troublemakers, without the transit police in sight, and see what it feels like to witness mayhem and deal with harassment like the woman featured in a front page article on Friday.

‘Where was the security?’

Nationals fans clad in red pour off the Green Line at Gallery Place, creating a massive bottleneck. The crowd headed outbound to Branch Avenue is much smaller, and when the train arrives, six women in baggy shorts and polos with oversize collars board the same car. One starts doing pull-ups on the train’s metal bar. Another marches down the aisle, shouting “Check me out!” Other passengers — Nationals fans, people heading home from work, couples returning from the movies — smile and laugh.

Then the scene gets tense. One of the young women, who won’t give her name, starts mocking a 58-year-old woman named Carol who is studying a physiology textbook in the middle of the car.

“You look like my teacher, Mrs. Wright,” the taunting woman says. “You can’t fail me anymore!” The crowd laughs, more hesitantly this time. Then the barrage of insults starts. The woman puts her nose in Carol’s hair. “You smell like cat piss,” the woman says.

Carol looks down at her book, trying to ignore the assault.

“It’s because of you that I’m gay,” the woman continues. “It’s because of you that my children are mentally retarded.” The woman gives her friends high-fives after each insult, and they laugh together. A family in Nationals uniforms moves to the other side of the car.

Five Guardian Angels arrive. They stand at one end of the car, arms crossed, silent. The woman in the baggy shorts looks at the youngest Angel, who appears to be in his teens. “What are you, 12?” she screams. “What are you gonna do, skateboard?” The Angels, in trademark red berets, do not respond.

“Ha!” the woman exclaims. “These Angels ain’t guarding [expletive].”

After a few minutes, the Angels leave the car. The woman continues to viciously mock Carol.

Carol, her tormentor and the rest of her group get off at Suitland. One of the women tells Carol, “I’m sorry, it’s just that we’ve been drinking.” She puts her arm around Carol.

Carol walks toward a cab. “You know, I wasn’t scared by what happened in there,” she says. “I was embarrassed that everyone, especially the Caucasians, had to see one black woman insulting another black woman like that. Still, what if things had escalated? The Angels were there, but they didn’t do anything. Where was the security?”

As a black woman I want to know more about the August 6 melee.  I don’t like this tip toeing around because the kids are black. Hell I knew they were black. I’ve seen how some of these black kids act on the metro and it’s not a pretty sight. Do I care if the “so called black leaders” raise a ruckus? No I don’t. That will just prove to me even more so that they’ll continue with the excuses and coddle the hoodlums in the black community and as usual don’t give a damn about the victims unless it’s a white on black crime.

I would also like to say something about the Washington Post and its local news coverage. I have noticed that when it comes to the print edition for local news the Post is seriously lacking. You can read the Metro section in less than 2 minutes because it’s that thin. If you want to read any local news you have to go online and click on Local. And even then some of the local news online is in blog format and not a news article. Why bother with a print edition of the Metro section when you print mostly one paragraph articles about what’s going on locally in the Post? The Post use to be better than this. The print version of the Post seems to spend most of it time on national politics and of course Sarah Palin. I’ve seen news stories from around the world receiving better coverage than local news in the print edition. I guess that’s why they have a separate local section online. And the Washington Post wonders why they’re seeing a decline in subscribers. I’m seriously thinking about cutting back my service to Sunday only.

Maybe it’s because I’m old school that I still read the paper. It’s a habit I’ve had since I was a youngster. I also enjoy reading the news on the internet. I check out news sites from all over the country and the world. But when it comes to my local paper I would still like to enjoy reading the print edition of the Washington Post.

The Washington Post continues to shrink

Back in March I blogged about the shrinking Washington Post. Well the shrinking continues. I received my Sunday paper and apparently they are phasing out TV Week unless you call or fill out a form to opt in.

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I did a google and found out that this started earlier this year in Northern Virginia. They’re now targeting Prince Georges County subscribers. Here’s what I found at the Washington City Paper:

Up to now, the Washington Post has taken some pretty standard steps toward shrinking itself, consisting of shuttering some sections and taking aim and duplication. Now comes some genuine innovation on the reductionist front: An opt-in scheme for the paper’s redundant TV Week insert.

According to the plan subscribers in Arlington and Alexandria must notify the Post that they want to continue receiving TV Week. If they don’t take that step, it’ll stop coming. Partial motivation for this step is protecting the environment, as the memo states, in what’s easily the most creative of the reasons for this move.

And here is the information to readers of TV Week:

The Post is rolling out a new system March 1 called “Opt-In” for home delivery subscribers in Arlington and Alexandria. Opt-In lets readers decide whether they want to get TV Week with their Sunday package. We began communicating with readers this past weekend about this change, which makes sense on several levels:

  • It delivers TV Week to every Post subscriber who wants it while reducing The Post’s costs.
  • More and more subscribers can get listings on their TV sets because of the growth of digital television.
  • It’s the green thing to do, as printing fewer copies means saving trees, ink and more — plus, it means less recycling to haul to the curb.

Subscribers have to contact us by Feb. 23 to say they want TV Week. There are two ways to opt-in:

  • Call 202-334-WEEK (202-334-9335) and tell us you want to continue to get TV Week.
  • Clip out the coupon printed in the Arlington/Alexandria zone of their TV Week and mail it in.

Starting March 1, only those Alexandria and Arlington subscribers who have told us they want TV Week will get it, as will any reader who buys a copy of The Post sold in stores or from a news rack. The daily Style section will continue to provide television coverage, as will http://www.washingtonpost.com/tv.

So if a person opts in what happens if the delivery person screws up and gives you a paper without TV Week?

Call me a forty something old schooler but I prefer to have TV Week in my hand so I can see what’s on tv for the week.  I don’t like the idea of having to go to the internet all the time to see what’s on tv.  I do use the guide on my cable for recording purposes and to find shows on channels not listed in TV Week, but I like the convenience of having TV Week sitting on my coffee table.  So I decided to opt in.

I guess the next thing the Post will do is turn into a tabloid size newspaper since they’re on a reduction frenzy.  Or maybe they’ll turn into an internet only paper like the Seattle PI 😦

From the White House to the big screen

On November 7, 2008 the Washington Post had an excellent article about former White House butler Eugene Allen. Mr. Allen started working at the White House in 1952 and retired in 1986. He served under eight presidents. 

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A Butler Well Served by This Election
For 34 Years, Eugene Allen Carried White House Trays With Pride. Now There’s Even More Reason to Carry Himself That Way.

By Wil Haygood
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 7, 2008

For more than three decades Eugene Allen worked in the White House, a black man unknown to the headlines. During some of those years, harsh segregation laws lay upon the land.

He trekked home every night, his wife, Helene, keeping him out of her kitchen.

At the White House, he worked closer to the dirty dishes than to the large desk in the Oval Office. Helene didn’t care; she just beamed with pride.

President Truman called him Gene.

President Ford liked to talk golf with him.

He saw eight presidential administrations come and go, often working six days a week. “I never missed a day of work,” Allen says.

His is a story from the back pages of history. A figure in the tiniest of print. The man in the kitchen.

He was there while America’s racial history was being remade: Brown v. Board of Education, the Little Rock school crisis, the 1963 March on Washington, the cities burning, the civil rights bills, the assassinations.

When he started at the White House in 1952, he couldn’t even use the public restrooms when he ventured back to his native Virginia. “We had never had anything,” Allen, 89, recalls of black America at the time. “I was always hoping things would get better.”

In its long history, the White House — just note the name — has had a complex and vexing relationship with black Americans.

According to Empire Online, Eugene Allen’s life will be hitting the big screen. The movie titled The Butler, will be written by actor/screenwriter Danny Strong who wrote the script for the HBO drama Recount.

A couple of months ago, we reported that Sony and producer Laura Ziskin had agreed to make a movie about the life story of Eugene Allen, an African-American butler who had served at the White House for over thirty years, and under eight presidents.

Well, now the movie has got a title, the simple and elegant The Butler (a damn sight better than A Butler Well Served By This Election, the title of the Washington Post article which inspired the film) – and a writer as well.

Danny Strong, who wrote the acclaimed political drama Recount for HBO, has been hired to write the movie, based on Wil Haygood’s Washington Post article. The story not only delves into Allen’s career at the White House and his personal interactions with Presidents, but also the optimism he and his wife, Helene, shared in the run-up to Barack Obama’s election – an election that, sadly, Helene never got to see, as she died the day before.

No director or cast has yet been attached to the movie, which sounds – even at this early stage – like it has Oscar potential.

The article about Eugene Allen is a must read. You can check it out here and you can also read about his attending President Barack Obama’s Inauguration here.

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Congrats to Eugene Robinson

A big congrats to Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson. Mr. Robinson was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary with a selection of op-ed columns focusing on the 2008 presidential campaign.

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N.Y. Times Wins 5 Pulitzer Prizes

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 20, 2009

The New York Times won five Pulitzer Prizes today, including one for revealing the prostitution scandal that forced Eliot Spitzer to resign as New York governor, while Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson captured the prize for commentary for his writing about the campaign that led to Barack Obama’s election.

Scandal played a role in a number of awards, such as the local reporting prize that went to the Detroit Free Press for disclosing the steamy text messages that led to the resignation and jailing of the city’s mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick.

Robinson, a former city editor, foreign correspondent and assistant managing editor for the Style section, told the Post newsroom that he was particularly pleased to have won for his coverage of “the biggest political event of my lifetime, and one that has personal meaning for me.” A number of his columns offered a black journalist’s reflections on Obama’s campaign.

I’ve always enjoyed reading Mr. Robinson’s column so I’m happy for him.

Hmm, I’m sure Tom Joyner won’t be too thrilled about the Detroit Free Press winning a Pulitzer for exposing his homie’s text messages 😉

You can check out all the Pulitzer Prize winners here.

Dog sledding

This picture appeared on the front page of the Washington Post on March 3 after we had our biggest snow of the winter season, but of course I forgot to post it here. So here it is.  The dog looks somewhat bewildered.  I thought it was a cute picture.

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The shrinking Washington Post

Like many newspapers across the country the Washington Post is reducing the size of the paper.  The Post has always had a separate Business section seven days a week but that will be changing on March 30.

Post to Move Its Business Coverage Into The A Section

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Washington Post, taking another step toward trimming the size of its newspaper, is folding its stand-alone Business section into the A section six days a week and drastically reducing the publication of stock tables.

Bringing financial news inside the A section will reduce the newspaper from five to four sections Monday through Saturday, not counting weekly feature sections such as Health, Food and Home. Business will remain a separate section on Sunday. The changes take effect March 30.

“From a reader-experience point of view, having business and economic news in the A section — overlapping with national, international, political and policy news — makes a great deal of sense,” Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said yesterday in an interview. But he did not dispute the fact that the loss of a section would mean less prominence for many business stories.

I noticed since the economy went down the toilet the Business section has been very busy. Business columnist Steven Pearlstein has been busy as ever since last year. Before the economy went downhill the Business section of the Post didn’t have much to read about. But it seems odd that now with all the economic news going on they decide to move the Business section to the A section of the paper.

I read both the print and online edition of the Washington Post, so it’s gonna seem odd to not see the separate Business section on March 30.

This is the latest belt-tightening move by The Post, which has been shrinking its print product and its staff numbers, like most newspapers across the country. Earlier, The Post eliminated the Sunday Source and Book World sections and combined the Sunday Arts and Style sections.

I miss the Sunday Source and Book World sections.

You can read the entire article here.

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