Saturday, October 28, 2023

Still Life with Robin: The Best of WaPo

by Peggy Robin

For the past several days Listserv members have been complaining about the Washington Post: its declining interest in covering purely local news; failure to follow up on initial news reports, and for at least one reader, the last straw: dropping local obituaries. These are all legitimate complaints.  

I'm usually quick to lend my voice to a chorus of complaint (and I have my reputation as a curmudgeon to uphold!) -- but in this case, I feel a bit of a contrarian impulse. There are things about the Post I want to praise. In some ways, it's improving.

Take, for example, its new morning e-newsletter, called "The Seven."

Try it out: You will get one email each morning from the Post with seven news stories of note.

Then there are two regular features in the paper that I not only praise but love, love, LOVE ❣️

1. The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang. How does anyone write about a quotidian topic like the weather without being any of the following: repetitive, overly technical, boring, and of course, all too often wrong in the prediction? I really don't know how they do it -- but the Capital Weather Gang manages to avoid all these pitfalls in their daily weather reports. When it comes to the forecast, they're frank about their limitations; they always tell you upfront their "degree of confidence" so they're not giving false assurances of what the weather will be, when it could go either way. Capital Weather Gang's page is usually the first thing I look at in the morning. Great Twitter feed, too! (And BTW, don't write in to tell me it's no longer called Twitter; I will simply reiterate my pledge not to let the Musk-Rat bully me into calling it "X".)

2. The second best thing about Post is "John Kelly's Washington." That man has my dream job! He gets to write about whatever strikes his fancy, with a focus on our city and its local lore. He tells offbeat stories about local people or places: the history behind an odd place name; a treasured item lost and then found after so many years; all kinds of bizarre coincidences, and of course, the tales of his travels, his band (the Airport 77s), his various dogs, his daughters, and of course, his Lovely Wife. For me, one of the true highlights of the year is his Annual Squirrel Week. This week I have an extra-special reason to sing his praises - I'm in the column! In the Monday print edition, John Kelly writes about people willing to fight the good fight against grammatical errors, and let me tell you, I am one of them! My particular "hill to die on" is the fight against the use of "I" in prepositional phrases (it's "between you and ME," folks -- never, ever "between you and I"!) 

Hey, WaPo, keep sending me the good stuff and I'll keep up my subscription, despite all the nay-saying (even as I occasionally find myself in the chorus of nay-sayers).
Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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