Tensions are rising amidst firings at the paper and complaints about the line blurring between the editorial and opinion pages.
Following our post yesterday about changes in the Washington Times’ editorial page lineup, there’s been some interesting fall-out.
Rob Redding reported that editorial writer Brian Dubose has “gotten the ax” from the paper.
From Richard Prince:
The others, including Brian DeBose, a former national political correspondent, were essentially fired, DeBose told Journal-isms, although he said they were told they could reapply for positions at the nonunion paper. DeBose, who is vice president of the Washington Association of Black Journalists, said eight to 11 people are affected.
Some folks (Times staffers and others) have written us complaining that the paper’s editorial page changes seem to blur the line between news and opinion, since former editorial page editor Deb Simmons and opinion columnist Tara Wall are joining the newsroom.
One anonymous reader wrote:
When John Solomon took over as exec editor at TWT he said there would be a “bright line between editorial and news.” The newsroom specifically asked if that meant a certain column would leave the news pages and be moved to editorial, and Solomin said it did mean that. But, Wes Pruden’s column [REDACTED FOR LANGUAGE] is still on page four. And and now Deb Simmons and and Tara Wall are leaving the editorial pages and will be “reporting.” Meanwhile, Don Lambro continues to “report” and write a column that is all opinion.
A Times staffer noted to us that “Don Lambro still writes an opinion column and news stories” and “Carrie Sheffield and David Dickson, both of whom were editorial writers, were moved into the newsroom. (Carrie has since left, but Dickson is reporting at the business desk.)”
Solomon did write back in February of this year that…
Every employee of the Times has an obligation to maintain the highest ethical standards for journalism and business. That commitment begins with ensuring that every story is accurate, precise, fair and balanced. It also requires that we maintain a bright line between news coverage and the advocacy of the editorial and opinion pages.
For its part, the paper is selling recent changes as “The Washington Times Begins Move to More Distinctive and Authoritative Opinion Pages.”
The Times has a small but loyal following in DC but has struggled to become financially viable during its entire 26 year exietence. I doubt that these changes will make any difference.