There’s an early scene in CQ/CX—a new off-Broadway play about The New York Times that does not pretend any character’s resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental—in which the guy based on Jayson Blair encounters a veteran editor at the paper’s favored watering hole.
“Started as a copy boy 43 years ago in March,” the old-timer brags as he fetches Jayson a Glenlivet. “Only job I ever had.”
Mistaking Jayson for a news clerk—one rung above the copy boy—the editor can hardly believe such a young man had written all those page one stories. (For good reason, it turned out.)
“Used to take years to get a byline,” he remarks. “Now they hand them out like candy.”
Well, maybe not that easy. But cultural changes at The Times over the past 20 years mean the newsroom grunts probably aren’t angling for bylines, anyway. Job openings dwindled with the economy, hiring scrutiny ramped up (thanks, Jayson), and the career track that gave the Times copy boy job its retroactive glamour (Arthur Gelb, Gay Talese and Robert Rosenthal all did stints) ceased to exist.
From Todd S. Purdum’s new Vanity Fair profile of Sarah Palin:
When aides went to load McCain’s concession speech into the teleprompter, they found a concession speech for Palin—written by Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully, who had also been the principal drafter of her convention speech—already on the system. Schmidt and Salter told Palin Read More
On May 9, when celebrities and reporters come stumbling out of the Hilton Washington following this year’s hotly anticipated White House Correspondents Dinner, there’s one party they can scratch off the list: Christopher Hitchens’ house party.
Mr. Hitchens, who has played host for Vanity Fair’s intimate after-party on and off for years, Read More
On the evening of Monday, January 19th, the publisher David Bradley, stood in the opulent living room of his Georgian mansion off of Embassy Row in Washington D.C., across the road from the Naval Observatory, and spoke of existential angst.
"All of us have those middle of the night sentiments of, ‘Does any of Read More
James Rainey at the L.A. Times—the embattled L.A. Times!—scored the first interview with 61-year-old Mayhill Fowler, that dogged citizen journalist of the Huffington Post.
No, wait! She’s not a journalist! And she doesn’t want her sources—like Bill Clinton who told her on Monday that Vanity Fair‘s Todd Purdum was a scumbag—to Read More
The New York Times plugged one of the holes in its Washington bureau this week by hiring Pentagon reporter Mark Mazzetti away from the Los Angeles Times.
“It was an agonizing decision because this place is fantastic, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” Mazzetti, 31, said by phone March 10.
Mazzetti had Read More
Say what you will about Richard Nixon, he doesn’t disappoint, even from the grave.
When the story broke identifying W. Mark Felt, the former assistant director of the F.B.I., as Deep Throat, the papers ran this clip from the Watergate tapes, in which Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, discussed the matter:
What do you get when you combine a reporter for the country’s most powerful newspaper with a city known more for glitz and glamour than substance and civility? In the case of Todd Purdum, the Los Angeles bureau chief for The New York Times, you get a man whose professional courtesies have clearly taken a Read More
LOS ANGELES–A young blond woman stood on the corner of Figueroa and Olympic on Monday night. It was shortly after President Clinton, at the center of a media scrum of television cameras and reporters, had finished his rousing speech to the Democratic Convention, and the pretty girl, a college student from San Diego who identified Read More