My enthusiasm for the Washington Post Magazine on Sundays dropped about 15% once I no longer would find Tom Schroder’s column in the front, but the direction Howard Kurtz describes might pretty much stop me from reading it entirely. Kurtz is primarily writing about a story about Lindsay Ess of Richmond…. and that’s all I’m going to tell you about it, because it’s a great story and any elevator pitch wouldn’t do it justice.
Happily, you can just make up your own mind: Matt Mendelsohn‘s story and photos of Lindsay story ran in Sports Shooter in August, some months after WaPo chose not to run it as a cover story. Mendelsohn, in a Q&A about the piece, says simply “I was told by the publisher that advertisers wanted happier stories, not “depressing” ones.” In fairness to Weymouth, that’s at least the third stop in a game of telephone and it’s unclear how correct that summation might be.
Perfectly clear, however, is Kurtz’s direct quote from Executive Editor Marcus Brauchl:
Brauchli said that after becoming executive editor last year, he consulted with Weymouth, Post business executives and readers on what they wanted in the magazine. Based on those conversations, he concluded there were too many overly long, overly narrow stories.
Perhaps I’m not the reader WaPo is seeking, but those “overly” long and involved stories like Weingarten’s Pulitzer-winning piece, his piece that I expect to land him another one, Mendelsohn’s previous piece on wedding photography and the story on Lindsay that never made it to print are what make me pick up the mag every Sunday. I do flip through Parade, which sounds like the product they’re describing, but I do it in way less time than I have ever spent with the WaPo mag.