I was in the news room at The Washington Post at 8:45 a.m. on Monday, October 16, 2014.
The room was crowded with newsroom staff and interns who were still buzzing with excitement as the first news item of the day hit the wire.
As a member of the news team, I would always be out front, checking the feeds and breaking down the latest developments as the day unfolded.
It was then that I noticed something peculiar.
I had never seen a picture of the entire team, as we had been using the hashtag #huffpost_team to share the news.
There was only one person in the room, and he was staring straight ahead, not looking at anything.
He had no facial expressions.
He looked like a zombie.
“Is that you?” one of the interns asked as she walked over.
The intern looked back at her and then asked, “Why is he staring at us?”
I was stunned.
My jaw dropped.
She looked like the zombie from a zombie movie.
When she looked back up at me, she was completely frozen in place.
I could see her fear as she stared at me.
“I can’t get the picture of you,” I told her.
“Because it’s illegal.”
I was not the only one to be baffled by this.
Several of my fellow reporters were not as shocked by this as I was.
The first thing that I heard was “Is he looking at us too?”
After that, I started to think, “Wow, I never thought a picture could be taken.”
I couldn’t imagine that this would be illegal in a professional newsroom.
After all, we all work at a publication that is supposed to be nonpartisan, and a picture is a picture.
But this was a big deal.
And the way it had happened, the photo was taken by a staffer for a staffer.
And that staffer, I believe, was none other than me, the reporter at The Post.
This was a photo that was taken during an editorial meeting.
I was the only person on the news staff in the story, so I had to be in the picture.
And so, I looked at the photo and I was completely stunned.
I knew what it was.
I know what happened.
And I am not sure how to explain this.
I am still trying to sort out what happened here.
I don’t know if I want to go back and re-do this story, but this is something that I feel compelled to share with anyone who may have witnessed the same thing at The WaPo.
And it is absolutely unacceptable.
It’s not the first time we have had this issue, and it’s not going to be the last.
We are here to tell the story of our industry, and this is unacceptable.
I understand that we need to cover stories that are important, but in this instance, this reporter did not follow the standard.
I would like to apologize to our readers, and to the entire Washington Post team.
And to our colleagues across the country who are covering this story.
We will be working with our legal team to come up with a more appropriate solution.
And as we said on Monday: “No one in this building will be held accountable for this type of behavior.”
That is the message we have been sending to the Washington Post and to every newsroom in the country.
We stand behind our journalists and want them to stay strong, and we will continue to do everything we can to make sure that the Washington Press corps is not only nonpartisan but that its journalists are fully treated with respect.
And, of course, the rest of the nation will have to hold them to that standard as well.
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