Follow these posts by Email

Mapping the Many Tunnels Under Washington, D.C.

Donald Beatty Bloch
But Carter says the “single most epic Washington tunnel story” might be the adventures of Don Bloch, a Washington Star reporter who wrote for the paper for about a year. In 1934, Bloch convinced the inspector of maintenance at the pumping station to let him cross the city through its sewers for a Sunday feature. Equipped with a flashlight, rubber boots, and a gasmask, he hopped down manholes from street to street, with “cloud watchers” who would warn him if a storm might pose a risk from rising waters.

Bloch’s tour guide shoved him in a trunk lid for a ride on the waters leading into Rock Creek. Carter says it might be the “best thing in stunt tunnel journalism Washington has ever produced,” but Bloch’s story remains sort of an enigma to Carter. One of the few details he has been able to verify about him: He co-founded the Speleological Society of the District of Columbia in 1939. No mystery there, it’s not much of a leap from tunnels to caves.

Attribution: Andrew Small, citylab.com
Full Story: Tunnels

Notable Washington Cemeteries

Kauffmann Memorial depicting
"The Seven Ages of Man"
The main reason Washingtonians might have heard of Rock Creek Cemetery: a celebrated sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The statue of a mysterious, shrouded figure sits in a copse of trees, marking the graves of Henry and Marian Adams. Commonly known as “Grief,” this sculpture is so important that a copy sits inside the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The cemetery, in what is now Petworth, was one of Washington’s most exclusive burial grounds in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a result, its elaborate mausoleums, modeled after Egyptian tombs and Gothic chapels, and carved statues bear the names of the families that gave Gilded Age Washington its department stores (Garfinckel and Lansburgh), beer (Heurich) and banks (Riggs).

There are many famous sculptures on the grounds — enough that the site has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The memorial to Washington Star publisher Samuel Kauffmann consists of a bench decorated with bronze panels depicting “The Seven Ages of Man” from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” Viewers can sit on the bench, next to a life-size statue of a woman in classical dress, and reflect.

Attribution:  Maura Judkis and Fritz Hahn, washingtonpost.com

Full Story: Cemeteries

Percy Qoboza: apartheid’s journalistic nemesis

In 1980 Qoboza went to the US as editor-in-residence for the Washington Star. Thloloe said Qoboza absconded from work to do this and when they questioned him about his move he replied in a telegram to say he had gone.

Vusi believes Qoboza’s career was bolstered by apartheid; exposing the brutality of the regime brought him the world’s attention. He wrote articles for publications including the New York Times. But Vusi also accepts that one could not imagine what his father might have become had it been a different time with different opportunities.

In addition to an honorary doctorate at Tufts University, Qoboza received an honorary doctorate from the Amherst College. The International Federation of Newspaper Proprietors awarded him the Golden Pen of Freedom.

Posthumously the South African government honoured him with the The Order of Ikhamanga in 2010.

Attribution: Tanya Ventner - iol.co.za/pretoria-news/
Full Story: QOboza

New Players Are Stepping Up To Bat In D.C.'s Sports Media Scene

1975 Press Photo Sportswriter Lynn Rosellini
At Washington Star Desk
George Solomon, director of the University of Maryland’s Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, and formerly The Post’s assistant managing editor for sports from 1975 to 2003, has noticed a broad shift in news over the last 15 years.

“Digital and visual have really come on strong, and because of that, the newspaper circulation nationwide has declined,” he says. “With that, newspapers and now websites have tried to counter that by being more inventive, more creative, to appeal to a younger audience.”

And with fans now getting real-time game updates on their phones, they’re not as reliant on the paper, or even home pages of websites, for basic recaps and box scores. Readers expect features, opinion, and analysis—the type of sports coverage that afternoon papers like The Washington Star used to put out to differentiate themselves and serve readers, notes Aldridge.

“I think we’re all sort of PMers [a term for afternoon papers] now, in that regard,” he says. “Everybody has to kind of approach it from the standpoint of, the fan knows the score, they know who won or who lost. You have to tell them why or how that happened.”

Attribution:  Ethan MCleod, dcist.com

Full story: New players