The time Jack Shafer told Kara Swisher she wasn’t ready for Washington City Paper

“Nobody is the same after being interviewed by @karaswisher”
– Jack Shafer tweet from February 13

I finally got around to listening to Jack Shafer on the Longform podcast that was posted earlier this month. Here’s the Politico media writer and former Washington City Paper editor talking to Max Linsky about hiring journalists:

You make mistakes. I’ve hired people I shouldn’t have hired, and then what you try to do is either reform them, reform yourself, or rectify the error and tell them to leave.

Jack Shafer

Jack Shafer

I mean, there are writers who came to me – I’ll give you a great example: I hired [at Washington City Paper], fresh out of college, Kara Swisher. And Kara Swisher I hired basically because she’s a dynamo, she’s unstoppable – just a force of nature.

But it wasn’t the right time for her. She didn’t embrace stories about conflict, her writing wasn’t particularly good, her editing wasn’t particularly good, and we agreed to part after I think it was six or eight months. But she got right back into the game. [He describes her successes after leaving City Paper.] … Maybe I should have given Kara another two months and I would have been able to harness this dynamo. So you make mistakes all the time. You think somebody doesn’t have it. You send them back to the minors, or you put them on waivers, and then they go succeed someplace else.

* Longform Podcast #128: Jack Shafer (longform.org)

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