News & Politics

A-Listers Enjoy Roast Beef With Don

What? You work at the Washington Post and you haven’t been invited to one of Don Graham’s catered lunches in the newspaper’s boardroom?

Graham gave up the title of Post publisher in 2000; his niece Katharine Weymouth now has that position. But Graham—who covered cops, sold ads, and invested early in the Internet—keeps his hand in the news game.

Since February, he has been hosting informal lunches so staff members can meet and mix with Vijay Ravindran, the Post’s chief digital officer. Ravindran came to the news business from Amazon and a brief stint at a Harold Ickes–backed Democratic tech company a block away from the Post building.

One e-mail invitation said Graham wanted Ravindran to get “a sense of what reporters know and how they work (what kind of info doesn’t make it into stories; what is original content and what is derivative; what is a reporter’s day like).”

Waiters at these lunches serve roast beef, vegetables, a salad course, and a mystery fruit for dessert, according to those who have attended.

Graham’s guest list for a lunch on February 23 included Liz Spayd, Joel Achenbach, Dana Milbank, Ian Shapira, and Jose Antonio Vargas from the Post’s news side and David Plotz of Slate, which is owned by the Washington Post Company. There was a sports contingent: Mike Wilbon, Jason LaCanfora, and Dan Steinberg. Stephen Hills, president and general manager of Washington Post Media, made the cut.

Katharine Weymouth hasn’t made any of her uncle’s lunches.

This article first appeared in the May 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.  

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