News & Politics

The Washington Post Newsroom Has a Roach Problem

A memo says it's "a newsroom problem and not happening on other floors."

Photograph by Evy Mages

The New York Times may have bed bugs, but the Washington Post has a roach problem.

“We have a growing pest problem,” Post director of newsroom operations Jillian S. Jarrett wrote in a memo to newsroom employees August 14. “We’ve gotten several reports of cockroaches in the newsroom.” Lest you think this is a building-wide issue, Jarrett writes, “Facilities says that this is a newsroom problem and not happening on other floors.”

The Post‘s building sprays the premises regularly, the memo reads, “but we have to do more to keep the bugs at bay.” Among the anti-pest measures Jarrett recommends newsroom employees take: Make sure all food and dirty dishes are put away—and leave nothing “on or inside your desk,” Jarrett writes. Clean up after “cakings”—the Post term for someone’s leaving party—which means disposing of crumbs and leftovers properly, as well as cleaning up utensils. “There are Clorox wipes in the copy aide station,” Jarrett says. “We have on-call cleaning services, if you need a vacuum or mop, please let me know.”

A reply to Jarrett’s email, which also went out to the entire newsroom, cited the roach-disposal skills of national and breaking-news reporter Taylor Telford, and included a photo of Telford, a copy of Garner’s Modern American Usage at her side, capturing what appears to be a large waterbug in a plastic cup, as well as a video of her sending that varmint to bug heaven via the building’s plumbing system.

In response to a query on whether the problem has abated since the memo was sent, a Washington Post spokesperson says, “Yes.”

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.