Doc Explains ‘How Washington Really Works’

A debut screening of the new documentary film, “How Washington Really Works: Charlie Peters and the Washington Monthly” is set for next week at the New America Foundation. A reception and conversation on the role of the Washington Monthly and media in politics will follow.

Filmmaker Norman Kelley, who will be on hand at the event, explores the life and career of Peters and his influence on the journalism industry. Peters’ career began in 1969 after he left the Peace Corps.

The film highlights how Peters ran the Washington Monthly on a “shoe-string budget.” According to a release, it features candid memories by some of today’s leading journalists of their own experiences under Peters “tough love” approach to editing,  and humorous demonstrations of his legendary editing technique called “rain dancing.” The doc also examines the culture and dysfunction of Washington, D.C. and the media.

Washington’s media dysfunctional? Who thinks that?

See which D.C. journos have cameos… Journalists (and others) who appear in the film: Jonathan Alter (Bloomberg News); Jennifer Barrett (Hirshhorn Museum); Taylor Branch (Pulitzer winning author); Matthew Cooper (National Journal); Michelle Cottle (Daily Beast); Gregg Easterbrook (author); James Fallows (The Atlantic); Paul Glastris (Washington Monthly); David Ignatius (Washington Post); Nicholas Lemann, (Dean, Columbia University School of Journalism); Suzannah Lessard (author); Joe Nocera (New York Times); Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV), and Amy Sullivan (National Journal).

The screening will be held on Oct. 17 at the New America Foundation at 4 p.m.

For interview requests with Norman Kelly or an invitation to the screening of “How Washington Really Works,” contact Kate Brown at 202-213-7051 or

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