Cribbs' letters to the editor

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This ran in The Post on Oct. 22, 2005:

Dom Perignon? "Postprandial liqueurs"? Beef Wellington and martinis?


As much as I disagree with the predatory DUI practices of D.C. police officers, Sally Quinn's essay was absurd and out of touch.

Who parties this way? Certainly not the majority of Post readers, who have much more to worry about than the elitist nostalgia of a reporter who used to party in Georgetown with a bunch of political yuppies.

-- Jonathan Cribbs




This ran in The Post on March 3, 2007

Holes in the Oscar Coverage

SECTION: Editorial; A13

I like Tom Shales. But his Feb. 26 column's assertion that the performance by Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Jack Black at the Oscars was "lame" and not funny was simply off the mark.

I watched all four hours of that show in my living room with six friends, and we couldn't stop laughing when those guys were singing. People were still chuckling about it at work the next morning. Shales was right that much of the four-hour show was long and mediocre, but he should have given credit where it was due.

-- Jonathan Cribbs

Beaufort, S.C.

This ran in The Miami Herald on July 9, 2008:



ProPublica fulfills its mission
SECTION: A; Pg. 18

In his July 7 Other Views column, Is nonprofit newsroom's shaky start an omen?,Edward Wasserman was right to acknowledge the paucity of regional investigative journalism at mid-size newspapers and publications. Too little great journalism is created in areas outside of the county's top metropolitan centers: Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

However, as an education reporter, I think that he is wrong to question ProPublica, with which I have no affiliation -- for the reasons he did. He criticized the foundation's website for merely ''aggregating'' investigative journalism from other sites. From the start, I don't believe anyone expected ProPublica to produce enough investigative content to fill its own website on a daily basis. At the least, as Wasserman said, the site is an indispensable collection of each day's sharpest reporting.

He questioned ProPublica's partnership with 60 Minutes on its Al-Hurra investigation. From day one, ProPublica editors have said they plan to offer their journalism to major media organizations regardless of size or budget. The piece got more exposure than it ever would on ProPublica's site alone, exposure that likely influenced Wasserman's decision to write a column about it.

Then he inadvertently blamed ProPublica for The Washington Post's decision to duplicate that reporting. Historically, The Post has ''answered'' good, investigative journalism with its own reporting.

To say ProPublica is less valuable when major media organizations duplicate its work is to miss the point. ProPublica is a nonprofit organization, and Wasserman's criticisms feel vaguely like those of a financial analyst, wondering if the business plan is enough to turn a profit. ProPublica is a philanthropic endeavor and, at the end of the day, supplementary to the work of major media organizations. So far, I think it's fulfilling that obligation quite well.