There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
As executive editor of the Post, Leonard Downie Jr. has little fame to go with his considerable power. Since taking the paper’s top job in 1991, Downie has preferred the day-in, day-out grind of newspapering to hobnobbing with local glitterati. When he gets press attention, it highlights not a flamboyant newsroom character but an ethically puritanical helmsman.
A novel could elevate that profile. A tome on the best-seller lists could easily turn a reticent journo into a chronic TV-talk-show guest, à la Mitch Albom. And according to newsroom sources, Downie has a concept for a piece of long fiction that he’s been working on in his scant spare time. There’s no deadline and no publisher—just a “hobby,” according to an informed source.
“I think he ought to do it,” says Managing Editor Steve Coll. “He’s an extremely creative and complicated person who sees a lot more of the world and its shading than he gets credit for.”
Downie refuses to comment on the project, but here’s a safe bet: The book will focus on Washington. “Len knows more about how this town really operates than anybody that I know,” says Coll.