AJR logo     

 AJR  The Beat

From AJR,   June 2000  issue

Talent Magnet   

USA Today has cherry-picked more talent from the Washington Post.

By Unknown

USA Today--the rainbow-hued daily once derided as a McPaper for its news-lite style--cherry-picks more talent from the Washington Post. Over the past eight months, USA Today has lured at least five staffers from the august 812,559-circulation paper. The latest émigré: Joan Biskupic, the Post's 44-year-old U.S. Supreme Court reporter. Why would one top-notch journalist--let alone five--leave the revered paper to work for a daily whose content was once compared to intellectual junk food? "The possibility of illuminating the court for 2 million readers all across the country seems like a terrific challenge," says Biskupic, who worked for the Post for eight years. "I've always believed that the Supreme Court was something that I wanted to bring home to everyone, not just the lawyers in Washington or the people in powerful positions." David Lindsey, a national editor who left a 12-year Post career in April, was "attracted by the idea of how many people read USA Today. It had such national appeal." He adds, "The Post, anyway you cut it, is one of the five best newspapers in the country--at its worst. But it is in its essence a local newspaper." Lindsey and Biskupic join at least three other ex-Posties who have crossed the Potomac since last October: Saundra Torry, a legal writer for the Post, now writes editorials at USA Today; economics writer George Hager plies the same trade at USA Today; and Tom Kenworthy became a USA Today Denver correspondent when the Post mothballed its bureau there.