Argetsinger and Roberts To Share Gossip Column

Argetsinger and Roberts To Share Gossip Column

Editor’s Note: 5:45 P.M. — Item updated throughout

Filling one of the most eagerly awaited job openings in D.C. media, the Washington Post announced today that two veteran reporters: Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger will share billing as the paper’s storied Reliable Source.

The post has not been shared since Ann Gerhart and Annie Groer co-wrote it in the 1990s.

After a list of four finalists (also included were Roll Call’s Mary Ann Akers and Wonkette’s Ana Marie Cox) leaked recently, the pairing of Argetsinger and Roberts seemed the obvious choice. “It’s the wisest decision for the options they had,” a Post insider said this afternoon.

Former education writer Amy Argetsinger (left) is a Metro reporter whose emergence as the paper’s strong internal candidate left many in the newsroom positive that she would land at least one of the spots on the ticket. Most recently she’s been writing for the National desk on the West Coast, but will be returning to Washington for her new gig. Newsroom sources say she’s “smart” and “sassy.”

Asked today what appealed to her in the Reliable Source column, Argetsinger told Fishbowl, “The great thing about working at the Post is the huge variety of things one can do within the confines of daily newspapering. The Reliable Source offers probably one of the most dramatic changes of pace and style. Yet it also places one at the hub of a really exciting newsroom, and the chance to weigh in on the entire spectrum of newsmakers who populate our pages — mayors, legislators, ballplayers, club owners, tech barons, first daughters, media stars. And it remains rooted in solid reporting.”

The selection today is also a vindication of sorts for Roberts (pictured right), who has covered the social beat longer than any reporter in the city and was passed over for the Source position last time around. There was reluctance within the paper about giving it to her solo, and hence the brainstorm of the return to the dual female writers.

Roberts this afternoon said she feels lucky to have been teamed with Argetsinger.

“It sounds so simplistic, but I’ve always thought people were fascinating. I think Washington is constantly underrated as to the interesting people here. There’s ambition, intelligence, and fate all mixed together, [and it] produces some of the most intriguing stories. And Source is a perfect place to tell some of those,” Roberts said. “Plus it will be enormous fun.”

The duo will likely start sometime next month, once Argetsinger has returned to Washington from L.A.

> Roberts, you’ll remember, is a long-time panelist on NPR’s “Wait, Wait–Don’t Tell Me.”

> In a January interview with Washingtonian’s Chuck Conconi, Roberts laid out her Washington favorites–from a hamburger and malt at the Silver Diner to the romantic garden of the British Embassy in the moonlight.

> 3:40 P.M. UPDATE: Still waiting for the official announcement to be made to the Post newsroom.

> Harry Jaffe, who has led the reporting on the search throughout, has more analysis.

> Bitterness thy name is Ana. From Wonkgirl this evening: “The most excellent thing about not being named the Reliable Source ourselves will be our continued pleasure in mocking the WP Style section. Good luck, girls. We’ll be gentle. At first.”

Full internal Post announcement after the jump.

Headline: Great Gossip from Style

We’re delighted to announce the appointment of the next Reliable Source, or rather Sources: Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts.

After more than a decade chronicling the social life of Washington, Roxanne knows everyone on the Capitol Hill-Georgetown axis. Born and raised in Minneapolis, she started in the Style section in 1988 and has been an invaluable guide to state dinners and to life Out & About. Amy is a native of Alexandria and a 10-year Post veteran, who has been a reporter for both Metro and National. She is a pop culture junkie whose tour in Los Angeles has sharpened her already formidable skills at celebrity spotting.

Both Amy and Roxanne have exciting ideas for further expanding the reach and impact of the Reliable Source, one of the paper’s signature columns and the first place many readers start their day. As part of that effort, we expect to increase the frequency of the column and to expand its presence on the web.

We’re excited about this new era in gossip and encourage everyone to share with Amy and Roxanne those delicious tidbits that make the Source a must-read.

Deborah Heard
Steve Reiss