Deb Howell Says Goodbye

From the Washington Post ombudsman’s final column:

    My term as ombudsman ends with this column. My hope for the future is that readers, our lifeblood, will find in The Post, in print and online, journalism they can believe in and that the paper will both engage and enrich the many communities in this region. …

    Now journalists are highly trained, mobile and, especially in Washington, more elite. We make a lot more money, drive better cars and have nicer homes. Some of us think we’re just a little more special than some of the folks we want to buy the paper or read us online.
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    That’s a mistake. Readers want us to be smart and tough and for the newspaper to read that way, but they don’t want us to think we’re better than they are. We need to be worried sick when people drop their subscriptions. We need to think of ways to prevent that.

    An unpleasant fact about journalists is that we can be way too defensive. We dish it out a lot better than we take it. It’s not that we have thin skin; we often act as though we have no skin and bleed at the slightest touch.

Powerline says: “Naturally enough, she doesn’t mention her 2006 encounter with emotionally disturbed leftists.”