Should a Reporter put news in a book before He puts it in his paper?

Today, Bob Woodward’s third book on the Bush administration « State of Denial » hits the book stores.  There is considerable new material in the book e.g. the friction between Condi Rice and Rumsfeld;  the people on Bush’s staff who wanted the president to fire Rumsfeld;  the under reporting of casualties and attacks in the Iraq war.

       Does it not seem to you there is a conflict of interest here?   After all Woodward is on the staff of and being paid by  The Washington Post.   Should he have saved this important material for a book or should he have reported on it immediately for the newspaper that was paying his tab?

     No doubt about it Woodward has book promotion down to state of the art.  But doesn’t it seem to you that his work as an author undercuts his work as a reporter?



  1. 1
    Barbara Says:

    I suspect Woodward has long ago made his peace with the Washington Post — otherwise they would have fired him by now. This avoids the Post being sued and they get publicity by having one of their reporters a writer on the talk show circuit. They need him more than he needs them. Maybe, too, there are fewer restrictions for someone writing a book than there are for reporters.

  2. 2

    You may be right, Barbara. I understand that Woodward lives in a mansion fit for a king and deigns to visit the Post only occasionally. He may have made a deal with his senior editors but the rank and file Post people hate his guts.

    Here’s my take. Woodward is a reporter for the Post. He digs up important news and keeps it away from his paper, keeps it under wraps until his book comes out. I can’t see that as anything else but a conflict of interest no matter what deal he has made under the table.

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