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Coveted Post Political Slot Vacant Again

The Washington Post’s woes over finding and keeping a political feature writer for its Style section continue.

Mark Leibovich, the best of the breed, was snatched away by the New York Times in March 2006. He had become a star at Style, putting readers inside the lives and heads of politicians and their spouses. The Post attempted to install veteran David VonDrehle, but he left for Time Magazine before he could write one word for Style. Likewise, the Style section recruited Michael Powell from the national desk, where he had been running the New York bureau, but the New York Times hired him away first.

Now Sridhar Pappu has resigned, according to sources. When the Post hired Pappu from the Atlantic Monthly last February, the paper said it was “delighted” to announce the hire “as our lead political reporter.”

But Pappu never seemed to shine in Style. His bylines were few and far between. When Dana Milbank posted a video of him snoozing on the Post Web site, colleagues were not surprised. Nor were they surprised at his departure.

Post editors say there are no immediate prospects to fill the coveted slot, but the beat is being well covered by veterans Lois Romano, Kevin Merida, and Libby Copeland.

Pappu could not be reached for comment.

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