Media Blog

Howard Kurtz Reporting on the Washington Post

From this write-up by Howard Kurtz, it looks like the Post’s plan to pimp out its writers, etc. is falling apart:

The Washington Post’s executive editor said today he is “appalled” by a plan to charge lobbyists as much as $250,000 for off-the-record gatherings at the home of the paper’s publisher — with Obama administration officials, members of Congress and the paper’s reporters and editors — and insisted that the newsroom will not participate.

“It suggests that access to Washington Post journalists was available for purchase,” Brauchli said in an interview. The proposal “promises we would suspend our usual skeptical questioning because it appears to offer, in exchange for sponsorships, the good name of The Washington Post.”

Brauchli was responding to fliers, circulated by the paper’s parent company, offering an “intimate and exclusive Washington Post Salon, an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth.” The fliers, which said participants would be charged $25,000 to sponsor a single salon and $250,000 to underwrite an annual series of 11 sessions, were reported this morning by Politico.

“We do not offer access to the newsroom for money,” Brauchli said. “We just are not in that business.”

The proposal put Brauchli in the position of balking at an explosive proposal by the company’s business operation. Weymouth, the chief executive of Washington Post Media, hired Brauchli last year after he was forced out as the Wall Street Journal’s top editor. He told the staff in an e-mail this morning that the newsroom would have no part of this plan, writing, “Our independence from advertisers or sponsors is inviolable.”


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