Free for All roundup of short critiques of The Post

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The D.C. agency director I know

Regarding the June 23 Metro story "Misconduct alleged in hiring at D.C. agency":

I do not know Candice Young, the former human resources specialist for the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance. Young alleges that agency leaders forced her to falsify and embellish internal documents to make it easier for officials to hire certain employees over better-qualified applicants. But I do know very well Julie Hudman, director of the agency.

For 15 years, I headed the D.C. Coalition on Long-Term Care. Our work necessarily focused on D.C. Medicaid programs. These programs did not always operate at their best.

In barely two years as director, Julie Hudman has provided the leadership to maximize staff efforts. Her coordinated hard work, intelligence and dedication have made noticeable progress in the administration and initiation of Medicaid programs that affect those with low incomes. Applications for services have been expedited instead of lost or delayed. Systemic problems are analyzed and solutions proposed. Complaints are acknowledged and resolutions undertaken. The improvements are an enormous work in progress at a time when funding is cut as needs expand.

Vera Waltman Mayer, Washington

How a relationship could matter

Reducing a committed relationship to "having sex with each other" and "sexual habits," letter writer Martha McQuade [Free for All, June 26] managed to support her opinion that this factor was "not conclusive" and therefore not relevant in articles about the defendants eventually acquitted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the death of Robert Wone [front page, June 30].

She missed the possible nexus between the defendants' deep, committed relationship and their disputed behavior. Their relationship -- sexual and otherwise -- was a reasonable factor to consider in a case involving elements of silence and an alleged cover-up. Such relationships are often found in murder cases where the victim and defendant are known to each other.

Patricia Aiken O'Neill, Chevy Chase

Pink bicycles and hydrangeas

Whatever happened to starting out with "who, what, when, where and why" in reporting? Reading your paper these days is like browsing a book of short stories.

For example, in a story about an alleged spy ring ["The spies next door," front page, June 30], we learn the following in the first paragraph: "Richard and Cynthia Murphy raised two children in a two-story colonial with maroon shutters on a winding street in suburban New Jersey. Cynthia, a vice president at a financial services firm, tended hydrangeas on the manicured lawn. Katie, 11, and Lisa, 7, rode pink bicycles around a nearby cul-de-sac."

Are you kidding me? Maroon shutters, pink bicycles and hydrangeas in an article about suspected Russian spies? This is an example of how dumbing down newspapers will lead to their demise.

Andrea J. Rouda, Freeport, Maine

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company