The Economics of Being Bob Woodward
The New York Observer analyzes Bob Woodward's relationship with the Washington Post as one of economics - Woodward has become so much of a cash cow for the paper, and so rich himself, that there is no controlling him. Nor, it seems, does the paper have any idea what he's working on. There are some juicy tidbits and quotes. Here are a few, but go read the whole thing.
Publisher Leonard Downie:
Asked to explain why he’d been out of touch, Mr. Downie replied, “Because he’s a rich man, who has an entire floor of his house as his office, and he has a staff of his own working for him. He doesn’t come into the office so much. We have to take the initiative to talk to each other.”
The details of his book income:
Even if Mr. Woodward were the highest-paid executive at the Washington Post Company, it’s unlikely that the newspaper could pay him more than a fraction of what the publishing house does.
Mr. Woodward’s more successful books can sell upward of 300,000 to 600,000 copies (one rough estimate, from Nielsen Bookscan, has 2004’s Plan of Attack in hardcover selling 471,000 copies, and 2002’s Bush at War at 512,000); at $25 to $28 a copy, Mr. Woodward might make $3 to $4 in royalties on each sale, putting his take squarely in the millions....
A rival editor has this to say:
“Bob Woodward’s allegiance is to celebrity,” said an executive at another major publishing house. “In the old days, reporters were like Seymour Hersh, out in the trenches, digging around someone’s garbage. I think of Woodward with his cufflinks on in the cloth dining rooms in Washington. Or in the President’s office. Like he’s one of them.”
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