What ever happened to newspapers reporting the news, now they set up the new & report it. They are to lazy to investagate a real story. They just invity people to their homes and whala a news story. SO SAD
Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth said today she was canceling plans for an exclusive "salon" at her home where for as much as $250,000, the Post offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record access to "those powerful few" — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and even the paper’s own reporters and editors.
The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he felt it was a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff."
With the Post newsroom in an uproar after POLITICO reported the solicitation, Weymouth said in an email to the staff that "a flier went out that was prepared by the Marketing department and was never vetted by me or by the newsroom. Had it been, the flier would have been immediately killed, because it completely misrepresented what we were trying to do."
Weymouth said the paper had planned a series of dinners with participation from the newsroom “but with parameters such that we did not in any way compromise our integrity. Sponsorship of events, like advertising in the newspaper, must be at arm's length and cannot imply control over the content or access to our journalists. At this juncture, we will not be holding the planned July dinner and we will not hold salon dinners involving the newsroom. “
She made it clear however, that The Post, which lost $19.5 million in the first quarter, sees bringing together Washington figures as a future revenue source. “We do believe that there is a viable way to expand our expertise into live conferences and events that simply enhances what we do - cover Washington for Washingtonians and those interested in Washington,” she said. “ And we will begin to do live events in ways that enhance our reputation and in no way call into question our integrity.”
Executive editor Marcus Brauchli was as adamant as Weymouth in denouncing the plan promoted in the flier. “You cannot buy access to a Washington Post journalist,” Brauchli told POLITICO. Brauchli was named on the flier as one of the salon’s "Hosts and Discussion Leaders."
Brauchli said in an interview that he understood the business side of the Post planned on holding dinners on policy and was scheduled to attend the July 21 dinner at Weymouth’s Washington home, but he said he had not seen the material promoting it until today. “The flier, and the description of these things, was not at all consistent with the preliminary conversations the newsroom had,” Brauchli said, adding that it was “absolutely impossible” the newsroom would participate in the kind of event described in the solicitation for the event.
"Underwriting Opportunity: An evening with the right people can alter the debate," says the one-page flier. "Underwrite and participate in this intimate and exclusive Washington Post Salon, an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth. ... Bring your organization’s CEO or executive director literally to the table. Interact with key Obama administration and congressional leaders."
This Came out today after a it was reported first in the Politicao & the Post got a lot of bad flack: I wonder how many hundreds of others they have held in the past when they are trying to promote their canidate of choice?
Post Publisher Acknowledges Mistakes
Weymouth Says Rushed Planning Led to Inaccurate Flier on Policy Dinners
By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth said yesterday that a hasty time frame, haphazard planning and miscommunication led to the release of a promotional flier that inaccurately described the newspaper's plans for a series of sponsored "salons" with influential insiders.
"We decided to throw this particular event very recently," Weymouth said in an interview. "We said, 'Let's not wait. Let's pick a date and let's go for it.' When you rush like that, you make mistakes."
Weymouth said she takes responsibility for the controversy, and she took the rare step of writing a letter to readers, which appears today on the Op-Ed page [A19]. "As publisher it is my job to ensure that we adhere to standards that are consistent with our integrity as a news organization," Weymouth writes. "Last week, I let you, and the organization, down."
The plan to host a series of off-the-record, sponsored dinners at Weymouth's home in the District, and invite Obama administration officials, lawmakers, lobbyists, business leaders, and Post editors and reporters, exploded in controversy when a promotional flier described an effort to sell sponsorships of $25,000 for each dinner or as much as $250,000 for a series of 11 dinners. The flier promised exclusive access to the newsmakers and journalists.
The first of the dinners, billed as salons, was to be held July 21 and focus on health-care policy. Weymouth canceled the dinner after Politico.com disclosed the details of what was being offered to potential sponsors in the flier.
Critics have accused The Post of abusing its journalistic integrity and of attempting to profit from selling access to powerful and influential people.
Weymouth, the granddaughter of legendary publisher Katharine Graham and niece of The Washington Post Company's chief executive, Donald Graham, has said repeatedly that the plan was inaccurately portrayed in the promotional flier and that the flier was sent out, without approval, by Charles Pelton, a marketing employee hired two months ago. Weymouth said Pelton is still employed by the paper; he could not be reached to comment yesterday.
In interviews yesterday, Weymouth and Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli both said the long-standing plan for the dinners was to have multiple sponsors so that a single sponsor would not be perceived as controlling or influencing the discussion.
They described a lengthy and detailed series of planning meetings involving the newspaper's executives and top newsroom representatives that were intended to create a new business involving dinners, seminars and conferences. Pelton, a former newspaper journalist who had started his own meeting business, was hired to oversee this new business.
Pelton made a general presentation about the conferences and salons at a senior managers' meeting that included newsroom editors on June 24, making no mention of attracting an exclusive sponsor or of promising special access, Weymouth and Brauchli said. Such a disclosure would have been a red flag, they said, and would have been unacceptable to the newspaper's journalists. "We were clear on the ground rules," Weymouth said.
However, as Weymouth described it, the first salon was a somewhat hastily planned affair. Pelton suggested July 21 as the first date. After checking her schedule, Weymouth agreed. Invitations were sent using her business e-mail address early last week, although Weymouth said she was out of town and never saw the language.
"We viewed it as a test," she said. "We said, 'Let's see if we can get it off the ground.' In hindsight, that was a mistake. We should have been much more buttoned down. We should have waited."
Invitations to the dinner were sent to about 30 people, she said. The flier appeared separately; Weymouth said she did not know when it had been sent out. "I know I didn't see it, and to the best of my knowledge no one in the newsroom had seen it. If we had, we would have spiked it," she said.
Brauchli has said he had planned to attend the dinners but was unaware that a flier was describing them as a "collegial" and non-confrontational opportunity for a paying sponsor to gain exclusive access to Post journalists. If he had known, he said, he would have refused to participate and would have forbidden Post reporters and editors from attending.
Brauchli, like Weymouth, said the dinner might have been acceptable if multiple sponsors had been found for the series, whose topics would change from week to week. "We don't do single sponsorship of content in the newspaper," he said. "This is very analogous. Whether in print or at a conference, when the news department is involved, we decide the topic, and we decide how to create the content."
He added: "When you find yourself up to your knees in conditions and parameters, you're in a swamp and you should get out. I made a mistake not doing that earlier."
Those Lazy bums make my blood boil