The dean of D.C. journalists Tom Sherwood will join City Paper as a contributing writer. He left his job of 28 years at NBC4 a few weeks ago so that he’d have more time to survey and comment on politics in D.C. and the region. City Paper is now looking forward to publishing some of his reporting on the people that make the city run and the issues that impact the lives of its residents.
“The City Paper is off on a renewed adventure in local journalism, worried a little less about its finances and focusing again on what people need to know in our city,” says Sherwood. “I’m happy to be a small part of it.”
Sherwood began his D.C. reporting career in 1974 at The Washington Post. (“I like to say ‘Nixon left in August 1974 and I arrived in October,’ says Sherwood.) Over the course of 15 years he served as an assistant editor, a night police reporter, a city government reporter, and Richmond bureau chief. During his last three years at the Post he covered Mayor Marion Barry. Then in the fall of 1989, he took the job at NBC4. Switching mediums introduced him to many more residents of the region.
By the time Sherwood got to D.C., he had worked at his hometown newspaper, The Atlanta Constitution, for about a decade. He started there as a copyboy in 1964 after graduating from high school. His job was to watch over the news wire machines “as they clattered and printed out paper rolls of news from local, national, and international sites,” he says. He’d tear off the news and bring it to various desks. He also brought reporters and editors coffee, dinner, and copies of other publications. “I got to read a lot of news doing that and I was hooked,” he says. The Constitution eventually gave him his first reporting assignment: writing obituaries.
He left the Constitution for 18 months of active duty with the U.S. Navy Reserves at the Washington Navy Yard in 1968, and was in D.C. for the uprising and riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
His 1994 book Dream City, which he wrote with journalist Harry Jaffe, chronicles the early history of Home Rule in D.C. and the rise of Mayor Barry.
We’re pleased to share his time with Kojo Nnamdi, who talks with Sherwood and their guests live everyFriday at noon for The Politics Hour on WAMU. Sherwood has been the resident political analyst on the show since 2009.
He is a tough interviewer, known for getting to the front of the line and asking politicians sharp questions. More important than his demeanor, though, is his knowledge. As politicians and bureaucrats have come and gone, Sherwood has stayed.
If you are an aspiring local journalist, let nothing in Sherwood’s extraordinary resume deter you from applying for City Paper’s open staff writer position. We’re accepting applications until Jan. 26, 2018.