Journalists and Money: First Do Good Journalism, Then Talk About It

David Fahrenthold: Washington Post reporter, CNN contributor, CAA speaker.

The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold had a remarkable 2016, impressing Post readers and fellow journalists with his investigative reporting on the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Fahrenthold didn’t bring down Trump the way Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein helped force President Richard Nixon out of office in 1974 but Farenthold is a favorite to win a Pulitzer Prize, as the Post did for Watergate, when the awards are announced April 10.

Fahrenthold also is following in the footsteps of Woodward by signing with the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to book speeches. That comes after Fahrenthold in January joined CNN as a contributor while keeping his reporting job at the Post. Here’s how CNN announced Fahrenthold:

Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold, a breakout star of the 2016 campaign for his coverage of Donald Trump’s foundation, is CNN’s newest contributor.

Fahrenthold was introduced with his new title on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” on Monday night, making it official.

Like other CNN contributors who work at major newspapers, Fahrenthold will remain full-time with The Post but will appear on the network regularly.

The contributor role is sure to be newsworthy because Fahrenthold was behind some of the biggest scoops of the campaign season. Editors and journalism professors pointed to his work as a prime example of how to investigate organizations and involve readers in the reporting process.

Some media critics expect that Fahrenthold will be in the running for a Pulitzer Prize later this year.

Fahrenthold painstakingly documented Trump’s lack of charitable giving. Poynter called him a “charity sleuth.” He also obtained the “Access Hollywood” tape that upended the campaign in early October. Slate subsequently called him “the man who owns the Trump beat.”

In December, the Post awarded him the news organization’s first annual Ben Bradlee Prize.

At the time, the Post’s publisher Fred Ryan said Fahrenthold’s work “dominated political conversation during much of the presidential race and ranks as one of the greatest runs of political journalism in recent memory.”

The Creative Artists Agency didn’t announce its representation of Fahrenthold but now lists his availability on its website:

A political reporter for The Washington Post, David broke the biggest, most talked about stories of the 2016 presidential campaign, including extensive exposés on Donald Trump’s troubled charitable foundation, Trump’s promises to donate to charity, and the infamous Access Hollywood video.

David has been with The Post since 2000 and recently received the publication’s inaugural Ben Bradlee Prize, in honor of relentless and courageous pursuit of the truth. He has won honors including the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for his coverage of Congress, and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for coverage of Washington.

David will be joining CNN as a contributor in 2017.

Call CAA at 424-288-2898 to check pricing and availability.

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Bob Woodward speeches also can be booked though CAA, which doesn’t disclose what its speakers cost; those interested are asked to send in an inquiry. But Woodward also can be booked through other agencies. One says Woodward is in the over $40,000 a speech category. Another says Woodward will cost $48,000 east of the Mississippi River and $59,000 west of the Mississippi.

Carl Bernstein as a speaker also is available through several agencies. Speakers.com lists his fee in the $20,000 to $40,000 range.

Woodward’s testimonials include this one from the National Grocers Association: “Bob Woodward was a big hit both on the stage and at dinner. He is a warm and engaging guy and and a perfect fit for our audience.”
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Journalists have debated for years the impact and propriety of print journalists appearing on television and giving speeches.

In 1983, the Washingtonian published a piece by journalist Henry Fairlie: “How Journalists Get Rich: And Why That Money Is So Corrupting.” Also worth reading: “The Buckrakers,” by Jacob Weisberg in the January 27, 1986 New Republic.

Some excerpts from Fairlie’s Washingtonian article:

The growth of the media has had two effects on the city.

First, the primary activity of Washington is no longer the government of the country through its political institutions; it is now the sustaining of the illusion of government through the media and its obedience to the media’s needs and demands.

Second, the most certain avenue to celebrity and considerable wealth is not now in the institutions of government along Pennsylvania Avenue. It is through the intricate networks of the media.

The people in the media dictate the terms. The people in the media make the killing. Even more than the three A’s—attorneys, accountants, and associations—that feed off the federal government, rapacious members of the media feed off every political activity.

Abusing, if not manipulating, the protections of the First Amendment, prattling about the “public’s right to know,” they use this city to enhance their reputations and push their incomes, first to six, and then even to seven figures.

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