The decline and fall of the Washington Star.

The Washington Star was D.C.’s newspaper of record for 129 years until it folded in 1981. In that period it won ten Pulitzers, and its staff included Michael Isikoff, Fred Barnes, Maureen Dowd, and Howard Kurtz. Check out Edwin Yoder’s Autumn 1993 VQR article about his time as the Star‘s editorial page editor in the paper’s final days.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

4 replies on “The decline and fall of the Washington Star.”

  1. The late columnist Mary McGrory, who spent much of her career with the Star, but ended it at the Post, once explained the difference between the Star and the Post by contrasting them with two of the world’s great cities: “The Star, disheveled, disorganized, welcoming, mellow and forgiving, was Rome. The Post, structured, disdainful, elegant and demanding, is Paris.”

    Rome, by the way, was Ms. McGrory’s favorite vacation destination for decades. She often wrote fondly of her relationship with the Star in her Post columns.

  2. The Washington Star will always hold a special place in my heart, because it was the first newspaper — other than a student newspaper — to publish an article I wrote.

    It appeared on October 10, 1980, under the headline, “Civil Defense and the Chance of Nuclear War.” I had actually submitted the article several months earlier and it had slipped my mind until, late that night, a classmate of mine passed me on the stairs and commented, “Nice article in today’s paper.” With that reminder, I rushed to Saxa Sundries (as the campus convenience store at Georgetown University was then called) and purchased the very last copy of that morning’s Star.

    The next day I began getting telephone calls from civil defense professionals, asking to meet me. That op-ed in the Washington Star led me to a totally unexpected career arc as a writer, lecturer, and activist on nuclear weapons issues.

    I still have the original, encased in plastic, somewhere in my files.

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