From Michelle Lancaster. Talk to me on Twitter @MichLancaster.
When we found out that Harry Jaffe had moved to the Borderstan area, we knew he’d be perfect for one of our Q& A profiles of interesting residents. A blunt, combative journalist and columnist for local media (some assuredly call him a gadfly and cynic), he currently writes for The Washington Examiner and Washingtonian magazine. His specialties are the D.C. government, crime and the local media itself (he writes a column on The Washington Post called “Post Watch”). Jaffe is currently known for his prolific stories and columns on crime and the DC police.
Along with WRC-TV reporter Tom Sherwood, Jaffe co-authored Dream City: Race, Power and the Decline of Washington, D.C. in 1994. As Washingtonian describes it, the book “remains the definitive tale of Marion Barry’s rise and fall, from 1965 to 1994.” You really should read it.
Here’s Jaffe in his own words: he talks about moving to Borderstan, the journalism business and some of his colleagues in the media — and Marion Barry, too.
Borderstan: Housekeeping chores! Thanks for agreeing to be on the ‘other’ side of the desk, Harry! Let’s start with the basics: what brought you to D.C. and when?
Jaffe: I arrived here in 1978 to work as a press secretary for Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. I lasted less than a year on the “flak” side of the news game before I switched to States News Service and then a host of news outlets, including Regardie’s Magazine and then Washingtonian.
Borderstan: What has kept you in D.C. as a journalist?
Jaffe: I have always preferred local reporting rather than covering national politics; it’s more of a contact sport where you write about people and places that you can see and feel. I have been lucky enough to find news outlets in D.C. that will pay me to write about the local scene.
Borderstan: How did you end up in our neighborhood?
Jaffe: Call it a typical story of downsizing: I had raised my three daughters in Chevy Chase, D.C.; once they had moved on to college and such, I was in the market for a smaller homestead. I had lived in the Dupont Circle neighborhood back in the early 80’s, but moving back was not an option. Way too expensive. So my wife and I searched for a neighborhood where we could walk to stores and bars, which had bike lanes, where the architecture was genuine. Then she found a great place at a good price.