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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

No, thank you

By now I'm sure most of you have heard the sad news that the Washington Times made it official - sports is not part of its new look and the sports staff was laid off. Friday is the final day for the section.


Mark Zuckerman, part of the Times' Nats beat squad, wrote a lovely farewell blog this evening. Give it a read.

And then join me in saying thanks to Mark, to Ben Goessling, to everyone else at the Times. As I noted in my earlier post about the Times, they were the underdog and they played big. Dan Steinberg of the Post noted as much in a blog post he did earlier today. They competed well and won their share.

They did the Nats right, the way a paper has to do a major-league team. With print and online responsibilities, a baseball beat is too much for one writer to do well and maintain any sort of sanity.

I don't know Mark and Ben all that well, having just made their acquaintance last season. I know enough from reading them and seeing them work that they are the type of people I loved to have on my crew when I was managing a sports department. They worked hard, they enjoyed what they did, they worked hard some more. They seemed to make a good team, essential on a shared beat like that one.

They'll end up somewhere good, I'm sure. If I was still in a position to hire, I'd take both of them right away along with many others at the Times. I was in a notes sharing group with Patrick Stevens, the Maryland writer. Trust me, he churns out more good information in a day than most do in a week. I've known Ryan O'Halloran since his days with the newspaper in Newport News. I've known David Elfin for years and years. John Taylor, the assistant sports editor, has become a good friend. Thom Loverro is a voice Washington doesn't need to lose. I could go on and on and I'm sure I'm leaving some out. It's a deep and talented staff.

Sadly, more papers are cutting than hiring these days so it may take a while for everyone to find a place. It may take a move or two.

I'd love to see the Post snap up a few of the Times gang and expand their coverage in certain areas - like the Nats.

I wish everyone there well and I'll say it again: Thanks.

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