As discussed in an amazing earlier post, the Washington Post blew up its newsroom today. Via the most masterfully written, almost inspiring, re-org memo, Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli changed forever the way that Posties take stories, blog items, and Tweets, and channel them to the paper’s various platforms. The memo is not only chockablock with new ways of working, but also promulgates a number of key personnel changes, including the move of sports editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz to the chief of local news.
However, the most pivotal figure in this whole deal isn’t even mentioned in the memo. He’s Metro columnist Marc Fisher. Several sources in the newsroom are whispering that something big is up with Fisher.
And that’s big news for this puny blog. Fisher, after all, is the consensus Best Local Columnist, as judged by the Washington City Paper‘s readers, as well as its experts on the all-knowing editorial staff.
More specifically, but not terribly specifically, Fisher is said to be leaving his position as columnist and doing something else with the organization. And that’s where this blog’s sources dry up like water-based paint. When asked what this fellow might be doing in the re-org’d WaPo, they say stuff like, Oh, I can’t go that far. Or, Nope, can’t help you there.
When asked if the new assignment was cool, one source said, “Yes.”
What about Fisher—can’t he shed some light on this development? No—-and that’s saying something. Here’s a guy who either picks up the phone on first ring or returns the message within five minutes. He loves to talk about the Post, about the news, about all kinds of shit. Now that the topic is him, well, he’s gone AWOL on this blog. In deference to the columnist, he is reportedly out of town, perhaps in New Jersey. Convenient.
Anyhow, provided that this blog’s Post sources haven’t steered us wrong, the Metro section’s lineup of columnists is starting to clear up a bit. Here’s the way it looks, and it’s not as frighteningly white and male as it appeared this morning.
*Courtland Milloy. He is on contract, and it will be up to management as to whether to renew him. He is happy to continue on the beat. He is a black man.
*John Kelly. He is writing every day and hasn’t been consulted for this story. Sorry ’bout that. He is a white male.
*Robert McCartney. He is moving from Metro’s assistant management editor (AME) to Metro columnist. Historically, folks who’ve made the switch from management to reporter have kept their handsome salaries, which in the case of Post AMEs are north of $175,000. McCartney will be covering all sorts of “metropolitan affairs” in his column. When asked if the move to columnist was his idea, he responded, “I’m very excited about it….I think it’s going to be great.” He is a white male.
*Columnist to be named. Since December, Metro has had an opening for a columnist. Though it appeared that McCartney might have pulled a Cheney and slipped into that spot, it’s not the case. There’ll be another hire coming soon. If it’s not a woman, I will demand that Marcus Brauchli undergo a sex-change operation.