February 22, 2009
Early in my newspaper career nearly 40 years ago, I worked for a short-tempered editor who hated long-winded reader complaints. One day, when an irate caller said she might stop reading the paper, he turned the tables and threatened to cancel her subscription. Ah, those were the days. Newspapers were fat and smug. Readers be damned. No more. Today, even great newspapers like The Washington Post are struggling to survive, fighting for every reader. That's where I come in. As The Post's new ombudsman, I am its internal critic.
February 4, 2010 |
Shortly after Kathleen Mitchell became the Clarksburg ombudsman, she took Montgomery County's transportation director to Brink and Frederick roads, where she had witnessed seven crashes or near misses in a relatively short period. County officials had told her that nothing could be done to make the intersection safer until the state follows through on long-range plans to widen Route 355 from Route 27 to the Frederick County line. After transportation director Arthur Holmes Jr. saw the T-shaped intersection for himself, he...
February 22, 2013
Regarding Patrick Pexton's Feb. 17 Sunday Opinion column, "The Post's last ombudsman?" The ombudsman's column is one of my favorites: It is relevant, reasonable and revealing. The ombudsman has a broad overview of what has been published in the newspaper, as well as readers' comments and complaints, and outside critics lack the resources, motivation and diplomatic grace to compare. You've got a good ombudsman; you should keep him. At the arrival of modern media technology, the information age appeared to be a great...
January 3, 2010 |
Deborah Howell, a trailblazing newspaper editor who led the innovative Washington bureau of the Newhouse News Service before serving as ombudsman of The Washington Post, died Jan. 2 in an accident near Blenheim, New Zealand. She was 68. She was on vacation with her husband when she stepped out of a car to take a photograph. She was struck by an oncoming automobile. In New Zealand, drivers use the left side of the road, and her husband said he thought she looked the wrong way. Ms. Howell, who published two Pulitzer...
August 23, 2012 |
MOSCOW — Russia's human rights ombudsman on Thursday called the two-year prison sentences handed down to three female punk rockers "excessive" and warned that the case was igniting dangerous social tensions. A Moscow court convicted the Pussy Riot band members last Friday of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after they belted out a profanity-laced song against President Vladimir Putin on the altar of Moscow's main cathedral in February. Vladimir Lukin, whom Putin nominated for the...
January 2, 2010 |
Former Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell, one of the first women to lead a major U.S. newspaper, died in an accident involving an automobile in New Zealand on Saturday, according to her family. She was 68. Howell was traveling in New Zealand on vacation with her husband, C. Peter Magrath, at the time of the accident. Her stepson Nick Coleman said Howell suffered fatal injuries when struck by a vehicle. She lived in Glen Echo. Howell grew up in Texas, the daughter of a...