The Washington Post is bleeding brand names. Media maven Howard Kurtz split for The Daily Beast after 29 years. The Post, he says, failed to provide technical support for his real-time Media Notes or to promote it. He’ll write about politics and be bureau chief of the newly merged Newsweek and Daily Beast. Fashion critic Robin Givhan will join Kurtz there.
Sports columnist Michael Wilbon left for ESPN. He’s been appearing on Pardon the Interruption and covering pro basketball, a gig that demanded an exclusive contract. Publisher Don Graham couldn’t match the deal, at least double his 2007 four-year, $8-million contract. Wilbon will write for ESPN.com, “but I won’t write about Washington sports,” he says. “Not much to write about.” TV critic Tom Shales will do less panning in his inimitable prose; rather, he’ll pen features.
Who among the Post’s veteran brands remains? Tom Boswell on sports. Al Kamen with In the Loop. David Broder on politics. Roxanne Roberts on gossip. As for replacements: Will Paul Farhi, who has been covering media, become the new Kurtz? Wilbon is pulling for former Post writer David Aldridge to be the next Wilbon, but Aldridge is happy covering sports for Turner Broadcasting and TBD.com. No word on whether the Post will hire a new fashion critic.
This article first appeared in the January 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.