WaPo Buyout Memos Depict Rosier Times

WaPo‘s internal memos on reporters taking the buyout are starting to trickle in. When you see the number of years these journalists spent there, it’s downright depressing. Also a downer is the fact that “caking” is a verb at WaPo. FishbowlDC has obtained several of these memos. To be sure, the numbers are much larger than the memo count suggests.

Some journalists haven’t left yet. Some didn’t get farewell memos. Their choice? It’s tough to say. But whatever the case, all memos are glowing and some don’t bear a single mention of the buyout. Instead, they highlight the writer leaving the profession and moving on to any number of greener pastures. They mention an “infectious laugh” or a “stellar legacy” and a “quintessential jack of all trades.” More heaps of praise: “tireless energy,” or “amazing attitude” and a “fire in his soul.” The memos depict the departures in a Stepfordesque light, as if this wasn’t bad news.

This afternoon there’s cake for Jon DeNunzio, who has worked at WaPo for 17 years. His memo does mention the buyout, saying, “Please join us near the Engagement Desk and the News Hub at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to say farewell to Jon DeNunzio, interactivity editor. And, alas, buyout taker.”

Other departures with memos include the following: James Grimaldi (12 years, they’ll be “caking” for him later this afternoon and cocktailing with him tonight), Joanna Hernandez (moving on to be Director of Career Services at City University in New York), Nathan Willis (seven plus years, moving on to Motley Fool’s as an editor), Robert Pierre (19 years, has often been the “conscience” of the Post, moving on to be a consultant) David Hilzenrath (25 years, headed to Project on Government Oversight, a.k.a. POGO), and design employees Marty Barrick (27 years) and Tony Knott (12 years).

All memos in full after the jump…

For James Grimaldi:

Today is James V. Grimaldi’s last day at The Washington Post.  He leaves behind a stellar legacy as an investigative reporter always willing to take on the toughest subjects.  After arriving on the Financial Staff from the Seattle Times in 2000, James immediately made his mark as an aggressive, hard-nosed reporter covering the Microsoft anti-trust trial, Firestone tires and Enron’s overseas shenanigans.  He went on to add his reporting muscle to investigations of animal deaths at the National Zoo, which resulted in the resignation of the zoo’s director, and abusive spending at the Smithsonian, which resulted in the resignation of the institution’s top official. With Susan Schmidt and R. Jeffrey Smith, James in 2005 drove the Abramoff scandal investigation into new directions that would ultimately result in criminal charges for Abramoff and Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and a Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for Schmidt, Grimaldi and Smith. He has investigated everything from NASA and the Redskins, from Ralph Nader to Ralph Reed. Most recently, he has examined the movement of guns in America and money tied to the kleptocrats felled by the Arab Spring.  He jumped into the role of accountability reporting for the presidential campaigns of 2004, 2008 and 2012, producing groundbreaking reporting in each.  His last national scoop occurred last year when he exposed the mega-donations of Sheldon Adelson to the Newt Gingrich campaign.

James is also prized as a colleague who was always willing to share his
knowledge of IRS 990s and FOIA law with other reporters and always willing
to pitch in on a story, big or small, long-term or quick turn-around.

James will be joining the Wall Street Journal as a senior writer doing
investigative work.

Please join us for a caking in the Investigative space at 3:30 p.m. today.
We will toast him with cocktails at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Beacon Sky
Bar, 1615 Rhode Island Avenue.