City Paper Mafia Update: Shafer Leaves Reuters

By Jack Limpert

Washington Post media writer Erik Wemple reported tonight that media critic Jack Shafer is leaving Reuters. Wemple writes:

So Shafer’s departure ends something of an oddball marriage. His columns, stocked with historical references, occasionally sharp-edged and particularly authoritative on topics ranging from plagiarism to media moguls, didn’t quite fit with the feel of a wire service. (He is a friend of the Erik Wemple Blog.) He came to Reuters from Slate and hopefully will find a platform on a similarly oriented site.

Jack Shafer is a friend of the Erik Wemple Blog? Here’s the rest of the story:

In March 2013 I wrote about how the editors of the Washington City Paper have gone on to have a big impact on journalism. It seemed remarkable, considering that the City Paper is a low-budget alternative weekly given away on DC area newsstands. Among the former editors: Jack Shafer, David Carr, Erik Wemple, and Andrew Beaujon. Here’s a graf from that post:

Shafer, editor from 1985 to 1995, and Carr, editor from 1995 to 2000, made the City Paper something special: smart, fearless, and controversial. Shafer went on to Slate and now is the media watcher at Reuters; Carr almost needs no introduction—he’s at the New York Times and is the nation’s number one media analyzer and critic. Then came Wemple, now covering the media for the Washington Post, and Beaujon, now the top media reporter at Poynter. Other ex-editors at the City Paper include Michael Schaffer, now at the New Republic running its digital side, and Mike DeBonis, who covers local government and politics for the Washington Post. Influential City Paper alums also include Katharine Boo and Ta-Nehisi Coates, a rising star at the Atlantic. And then there’s Jake Tapper, who made his first big splash with a City Paper piece about a date with Monica Lewinsky—he has just moved from ABC to CNN and is probably the highest paid of anyone mentioned here.
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Than in January 2014 I posted this:

Jack Shafer, David Carr, Erik Wemple, and Andrew Beaujon all were editors at DC’s alternative weekly, the Washington City Paper, and they’ve gone on to write about the media for Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Poynter. Powerful guys, very talented, and in a post last year I called them the City Paper Mafia.

On New Year’s Eve, Wemple put up a piece about media transparency that was long (2,700 words), media heavy (CBS, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, Politico, AP, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, Gawker, Huffington Post), and interesting (60 Minutes, Benghazi, Martin Bashir, Jeff Zucker, Mike Allen, Bob Lewis). But while reading it, a light bulb kept flashing “City Paper Mafia.”

In Wemple’s piece, Carr was mentioned 4 times, Beaujon 8 times, and Wemple mentioned himself 11 times. Shafer? Zero mentions.

Do mafia guys keep score?
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Maybe they do, but as Michael Corleone told his brother, “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.”
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Correction: At the City Paper, Andrew Beaujon was managing editor under Erik Wemple; he was not the editor.

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