TWT’s Daniel Wattenberg: Then and Now

TWT‘s Daniel Wattenberg returns to the publication for a second stint as Arts & Features Editor. This time around, the sluggish industry ensures that things will be different. He’ll have less space and less staff. But a tabloid to fill each week along with a daily three-page section. For that, he’s looking to hire two writers. Promising rookies will do, but mid-career journalists can conceivably apply.

“We’re not going to be able to review things as comprehensively as we did before, so it’ll be story driven, more magazine,” he told FishbowlDC in a phone interview Friday. “I think we’ll be more think piece oriented. Our readership is preponderantly national not local. It’ll be datelined D.C. but destined for a national readership.”

Wattenberg’s Life section launches Monday along with a content sharing deal with an area publication he won’t announce just yet. Among the first features Wattenberg is overseeing is an essay arguing that the best alien invader movies are shaped by an “overarching metaphor that makes aliens relatable in human terms.” The story is by Peter Suderman.

Wattenberg has memories of a colorful past. Back in the late 70s he was enveloped in the New York City punk underground and played in a band called The Casuals. He was lead singer. “Look, they were very exciting times,” he said. “At the same time, as I remember that punk scene, I was very conscious of it being sort of a youth cult at that time. I remember thinking it would be really weird to keep doing something like this through your adulthood. Now I’m a more competent musician.”

These days he sings and plays guitar. He has performed at Staccato in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington.

Wattenberg, who worked for the publication from 2003-2009, has never taken issue with the Moon family owning the TWT. “I have no problem with them,” he said. “They’ve never interfered editorially. They‘ve never tired to impose their theology and world view.”

At left above: A current snapshot of Wattenberg. Above right is Wattenberg singing at CBGB in 1981. Photo credit: Ethan Gutmann. Write Wattenberg at