OLD Media Moves

The impact of buyouts on the WaPo biz desk

June 2, 2006

Business columnist Steven Pearlstein waxes Friday about the dramatic changes at the Washington Post’s business news desk resulting from a number of people leaving with buyout offers from the paper.

Steven PearlsteinPearlstein writes, “But here in the Financial section, the buyout will have an especially big impact. Nine of my colleagues in the Business and Real Estate sections will leave, collectively representing 226 years of experience at this newspaper. Over the past 34 years, they have turned out 16,863 stories for the newspaper or the Post Web site. Although seven of them will be replaced, their departures still leave a void.

Sandy Fleishman spent many years on the Style copy desk before hitting her stride as a real estate writer. Her first story, in March 1999, heralded the revival of the ‘Murphy bed.’ And it tells you something about Sandy’s down-the-middle reporting that she managed to cover the political dogfight over predatory lending laws while earning the respect of both bankers and housing advocates.

Leslie Walker was one of the first Posties to see the potential of online journalism when she jumped from the Maryland desk to edit washingtonpost.com back in 1997. But by her own admission, her last job here in Financial was the most fun, and her weekly columns became the indispensable Baedeker to the World Wide Web, especially for those of us without the instinct to explore it for ourselves.”

Pearlstein actually discusses every person leaving the staff. Later, he wrote, “But at the same time, these departures open the way for a new generation of writers and editors to redefine business journalism at the Post — one that not only will accommodate the dramatic changes in technology, but will also accommodate the very real changes in what readers want and need. They haven’t quite figured it out yet. But they’re definitely on the case.”

Read more here.

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