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Todd Kliman Becomes Washingtonian Dining Editor


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In case you guys think I'm just messing with you, I'm not (well maybe I am a little bit). But I'm waiting for one of two things to happen:

1) The story needs to break from "the other source"

or

2) I need explicit permission to break it here

and until one of those two things happen, I have to sit on it.

This afternoon, I hope.

Rocks.

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As if it were straight out of the X-Files, I just received a crackly, barely audible message on my cellphone. I THINK what it said is that the story is going to come out tomorrow, and so unless I hear otherwise, I'm not at liberty to disclose it this evening.

To whet your appetite further: this will have a good deal of impact on the local restaurant scene. And despite the hype and conjecture here today, I believe that the news itself will not disappoint.

Cheers!

Rocks.

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Todd Kliman will assume the lead editorial position at Washingtonian magazine, having editorial control over the upcoming Best 100 Restaurants and Cheap Eats issues. Thomas Head and Cynthia Hacinli will remain at the Washingtonian and work with Todd, who will begin his new job next month.

I just got off the phone with Todd, who said that "I'm looking forward to bringing the same energy, zest and wit to Washingtonian that I tried to provide in my weekly column."

Cheers, Todd, and congratulations!

Rocks.

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Rocks was wrong, this is more than a ripple. But I thought it would be something on the order of magnitude of the health department discovering that all of the scallops delivered to the DC area in the last six months were contaminated with something that enhances susceptibility to scrotal frostbite.

In all seriousness though, congrats to Todd, he deserves the promotion. Onward and upward. We can rest assured that the cheap eats section will now be worth keeping.

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux
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I think it is much bigger than a ripple. Those constant 'list winners' that always appear in the Washingtonian may be disappearing in favor of places that truly deserve the honor.

Congrats Todd!

edited to remove JG's, now edited, quote.

Edited by mdt
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Todd Kliman is an excellent food writer, and I certainly wish him well. But he isn't being given control over the whole magazine. It will still be the Washingtonian, and I wonder how much better it's possible for the dining part to be if it's still stuck inside that publication's priorities.

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This is great news for the Washingtonian and Washingtonians.

I just wonder if the Washingtonian doesn't have a different idea of the proper balance between advertising and editorial. I'll be curious to see if that relationship changes.

Thoughts?

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First FishbowlDC's Garret Graff, now Kliman? I think Washingtonian is worried about glossies like DC Style stealing ad revenue and are trying to freshen up. Freshen up ALOT. It's a smart move; Washingtonian was way too staid for it's own good.

Edited to add: The more I think about it, the smarter it seems. Kliman has a lot of fans that may just migrate from the City Paper to read him in the 'tonian. And this gives hiim the room to write in the long form.

Edited by Kanishka
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First FishbowlDC's Garret Graff, now Kliman? I think Washingtonian is worried about glossies like DC Style stealing ad revenue and are trying to freshen up. Freshen up ALOT. It's a smart move; Washingtonian was way to staid for it's own good.

Worried about DCStyle? I have not heard anything positive about it. Comments anyone?

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i assume this means we will no longer get a weekly fix of kliman, which was becoming fairly addictive, but assume he we will succeed in avoid being homogenized by marie antoinette and the other washingtonian editors. first my favorite local movie critic, joel siegel, up and dies. now this. the city paper is fast running out of reasons for me to dirty my hands with it.

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Todd Kliman is an excellent food writer, and I certainly wish him well. But he isn't being given control over the whole magazine. It will still be the Washingtonian, and I wonder how much better it's possible for the dining part to be if it's still stuck inside that publication's priorities.

I would guess that hiring a James Beard award-winner signals some sort of fundamental shift in their focus, and I wouldn't think he'd have accepted the position unless that was part of the deal.

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This is sad news for readers of the City Paper and great news for readers of the Washingtonian. I hope the magazine will give him space on the website for weekly features, something along the lines of 'Young & Hungry' and 'Weekly Dish.' In my opinon, this would draw some of those City Paper readers away for sure.

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I liked Chef Gillian's menu in the Washingtonian feature (co-authored by Todd Kliman) re: Thanksgiving.  Is there a dedicated thread for that article?

I thought it was a nice article in the Washingtontonian. I appreciated the wine suggestions from some folks around here as well.

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From the January 13th Reliable Source column in the Washington Post:

A Recipe for Resentment at the Washingtonian

Plenty of new magazines in Washington this year, and lots of new blood shaking things up, so it was inevitable there would be fallout. In August, the Washingtonian hired Todd Kliman as dining editor, and now the magazine is facing allegations of age discrimination by longtime executive wine and food editor Thomas Head.

Head, 63, has worked for the magazine since 1991 reviewing restaurants and overseeing food coverage -- and was surprised when Kliman, 39, was hired and quickly outranked him on the masthead. Head retained his title and salary, but says he has much less responsibility. When he pressed Editor Jack Limpert for an explanation, he was told the magazine needed changes.

"I've never had a bad review or criticism," Head said yesterday. "Ruling out the possibilities, it's hard to be left with anything else but discrimination." His lawyer sent the magazine a letter saying as much.

Limpert, 71, said he doesn't care how old Head is: "I felt our dining out coverage needed some new energy and new thinking." He says he informed Head as soon as he hired Kliman: "I told him he was welcome to stay at the magazine, but obviously his feelings were hurt."

Head said he might stay if there were a "readjustment of responsibilities," but conceded it is unlikely. Head asked his name be removed from this month's "100 Very Best Restaurants" issue because he didn't agree with the choices or rankings.

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Before I ever came on EG or Dr.com, I used to wonder who made the decisions at Washingtonian reviews, since they were so off base. Even my husband who would be happy with hambuger helper felt the same way. I feel sorry for Mr. Head as he obviously feels overlooked, but as with any industry you need to keep abreast of what's new and exciting, especially with food!

I still can't fathom how Dungrats remained on that list so many years!

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Age discrimination is a serious issue in the news biz.

Plenty of examples, from Ron Fimrite, who was rehired by Sports Illustrated after filing an age discrimination lawsuit against the magazine, to Christine Craft, who lost her case.

I don't doubt this, and if Kliman were some newbie kid hired off the street, Head would have a good case. But Kliman clearly has the chops to be on the masthead, so I imagine that the net effect of this is to generate some lawyers' fees and possibly expose some of the "intrigue" in the leadership of Washingtonian. (Yawn).

JA

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I don't doubt this, and if Kliman were some newbie kid hired off the street, Head would have a good case.  But Kliman clearly has the chops to be on the masthead, so I imagine that the net effect of this is to generate some lawyers' fees and possibly expose some of the "intrigue" in the leadership of Washingtonian.  (Yawn).

JA

Since Head kept his title and SALARY, I'm not clear where the basis for a case of discrimination comes from. Do hurt feelings qualify? With trepidation, I suggest some of our numerous highly-compensated lawyers here on the board chime in.

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Since Head kept his title and SALARY, I'm not clear where the basis for a case of discrimination comes from.  Do hurt feelings qualify?  With trepidation, I suggest some of our numerous highly-compensated lawyers here on the board chime in.

Any claim would probably be based on damage to reputation although, in this case, a defense might be "we didn't damage his reputation, he did it himself." Reputational damage would be hard to prove by someone like Head as very few people even know who he is (was, has been).

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The resentment may have been magnified by Todd's rather savage comments in his recent chats, when he defended the changes to the Best 100 by slamming the previous lists rather nastily - even though two of the writers now work for him. A more magnanimous and tactful defense from Todd could have been, "Well, I'm in charge now, and this year's lists reflects my palate and my view of the DC restaurant scene." Instead, he's "I'm right, you're wrong," like Dan Aykroyd's "Jane, you ignorant slut!" in the old days when SNL was funny. :)

I agree that Tom Head's stewardship of the WashedOnion's dining pages was neither inspired nor inspiring, but he didn't deserve the humiliation (some of which he suffered willingly by staying). Todd's not making me hungry, either.

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The resentment may have been magnified by Todd's rather savage comments in his recent chats, when he defended the changes to the Best 100 by slamming the previous lists rather nastily - even though two of the writers now work for him.  A more magnanimous and tactful defense from Todd could have been, "Well, I'm in charge now, and this year's lists reflects my palate and my view of the DC restaurant scene." Instead, he's "I'm right, you're wrong," like Dan Aykroyd's "Jane, you ignorant slut!" in the old days when SNL was funny. :)

I agree that Tom Head's stewardship of the WashedOnion's dining pages was neither inspired nor inspiring, but he didn't deserve the humiliation (some of which he suffered willingly by staying). Todd's not making me hungry, either.

You don't think the recent changes are any better? What do you think is wrong?

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You don't think the recent changes are any better?  What do you think is wrong?

I didn't say that. I'm reserving judgment actually, until Todd's had time to get used to the vicissitudes of magazine publishing and editing, something very new to him and not nearly as easy as it sometimes seems to people who live on the boundless cyberfrontier of the Internet and can "publish" with the click of a Send button. He was thrown right into an unforgiving publication cycle that was probably well underway when he arrived. In his chats he alluded to the difficulty in putting together the Best 100 list, difficulty now confirmed by today's Reliable Source item. To make as many changes as he did, not just to the format but to the list, obviously required a lot of work.

My comment was more to the defensiveness of his defense, as it were. Todd was the one who took his disagreements with Tom Head public, not the other way around.

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I love the work in progress. Little blurbs like "Who's Folding The Napkin"

"Is the Chef in Tonight" are wonderful and hopefully will keep some from resting on their laurels. And for once I feel Washingtonian is right on as to what is going on in restaurants.

No offense meant to the former team, but this "reorganization" was long overdue.

Edited by RaisaB
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first my favorite local movie critic, joel siegel, up and dies. now this. the city paper is fast running out of reasons for me to dirty my hands with it.

R.I.P. Joel, you are greatly missed...

Now, back to our regularly scheduled mayhem already in progress...

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Well, Kliman's been over at the Washingtonian for six (?) months or so now. What do you think about what he's doing? I know we have discussed his chat and some specific articles he's written, but what do you think overall? Did you subscribe after learning he was going to be the food editor? Do you like the changes he's made?

Initially, I thought he was making too many changes too soon, and I wasn't sure where he was headed, other than to the land of massive, revolutionary changes. It seemed to me that he had a lot of ideas and he wanted to implement them quickly, kinda like he was putting us on notice that he could do more than write an award-winning column for the city paper (don't get me wrong, I loved the column--I can't describe food to save my soul!).

I felt like he was sprinting, not running a long distance race. A sense of urgency is a worthy trait, but I thought he needed to take a moment (other than in the body of one weekly chat) to tell us where he was going, and then bring us along with him to Kliman land. I thought the return of Phyllis Richman (during the Olympics) deserved more foreshadowing and I have found the magazine layout busy. At some point, I think he said that he did not intend to tell us where he was heading, that he wanted to surprise us. I get that, but for me, a few more clues would have been nice.

I LOVE his tuesday chat. It's personal, conversational and opinionated, more than just a Q&A. Also, I loved the entire April edition. To me, it really hit the mark, and i'm looking forward to future editions. It seems to me that he's settled in a bit (or maybe i'm the one who's adjusted to the new approach!).

I am a bit nostalgic, though. I miss the pure joy of picking up the City Paper on a Thursday afternoon to find his one of his amazing, well-written reviews, including the one he wrote last year for April Fools Day.

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