Archives for category: The Washington Post

My last assignment for The Washington Post involved going to the D.C. Superior Court to report on a federal official’s arraignment.


Federal official denies threatening to shoot ex-boss
BY DINA ELBOGHDADY AND ZACH C. COHEN Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.
The Washington Post
May 15, 2014

A high-ranking federal official who faces a felony charge for allegedly threatening to shoot the former head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency appeared in D.C. Superior Court on Wednesday and, through his lawyer, denied the allegations lodged against him.

Richard Hornsby, 58, allegedly threatened former FHFA acting director Edward J. DeMarco after receiving a review last month for his performance as the agency’s chief operating officer, according to a court document…read more…

Online: “Federal official denies threatening to kill boss or ‘shoot him in the kneecap’”

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My latest for the obituary section.

“I feel it’s a little ironic after having worked in Moscow and Vietnam and Beirut — to find my Pulitzer in a little town in North Carolina,” Mr. Coughlin said in 1990. “It says if you set your standards high enough, you can be just as good as big-town newspapers.”


Editor led exposé that won Pulitzer
BY ZACH C. COHEN zach.cohen@washpost.com
The Washington Post
May 14, 2014

William J. Coughlin, who traversed four continents as a foreign correspondent before guiding a 10,000-circulation North Carolina newspaper to a Pulitzer Prize for its investigation into cancer-causing chemicals in the municipal water supply, died May 8 at a hospice in Bolivia, N.C. He was 91.

read more…

Online: “William J. Coughlin, who led small North Carolina newspaper to a Pulitzer, dies at 91”

Here’s an odd news story for you: A guy pretending to be God attacked the ABC affiliate in Baltimore with a stolen truck. And then ABC2 started reporting on its own newsroom as a crime scene.

So great getting to work with Baltimore crime reporting veteran Peter Hermann on this story.


Truck attack silences TV station
BY PETER HERMANN AND ZACH C. COHEN
peter. hermann@washpost.com zach.cohen@washpost.com Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.
The Washington Post
May 14, 2014

A man rammed a stolen landscaping truck into the lobby of a Baltimore television station Tuesday, police said, prompting a standoff that forced the building’s evacuation and knocked the ABC affiliate off the air for hours.

Authorities in Baltimore County eventually entered the building and found the man armed with a golf club and holed up in a second-floor editing room, where he was watching television accounts of the incident…read more…

Online: “Police arrest man suspected of crashing truck into Baltimore news station”


An updated story came the following day with the release of the police report and the charges, along with a little extra reporting.


Crash suspect claims reincarnation
BY PETER HERMANN AND ZACH C. COHEN Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.
The Washington Post
May 15 2014

A 28-year-old man charged with ramming a truck into a Baltimore television station Tuesday told police he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and King Tutankhamun and wanted to expose what he called the “multiverses” where bad things happen to people and they disappear, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Police said Vladi­mir Mehul Baptiste roamed through WMAR-TV’s headquarters north of Baltimore — prompting a 41 / 2-hour standoff that knocked the ABC affiliate (Channel 2) off the air until after 5 p.m. — and was finally arrested as he watched newscasts of himself from an editing office while holding a golf club…read more…

Updated story the next day: “Suspect in Baltimore TV station crash said he was reincarnation of Jesus Christ and King Tut”

I spent Saturday manning the crime beat at The Washington Post.

Here’s what I covered:

“Police arrest Thaddeus Desean Bailey Saturday in fatal stabbing of Hyattsville man”

“Roads near collapsed building have reopened”

“Police seeking suspect in Ferndale Royal Farms convenience store shooting”

One of those stories ended up in Sunday’s print edition.


Man sought in shooting at store
— Zach C. Cohen
The Washington Post Sunday
May 4, 2014

Police are searching for the man they believe shot a 20-year-old man several times at a convenience store in Anne Arundel County, Md., early Saturday morning.

Authorities were called to the Royal Farms store in the 7200 block of Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard at 1:12 a.m. for a reported shooting. There they found a man with multiple gunshot wounds. Police said he had gotten into an altercation with a man, who then shot him before fleeing on foot from the store….read more…

I spent yesterday talking to current and former Pepco, BGE, ComEd and PECO customers with the hopes of understanding the impact a sale of Pepco to Chicago-based Exelon would have on customers in the D.C.-Metro area.

Online: Pepco customers can learn from experience of Exelon customers who use BGE

My reporting also ended up in a print article on A1.


Pepco takeover will bring better service, Exelon says
BY MARY PAT FLAHERTY, STEVEN MUFSON AND THOMAS HEATH
The Washington Post
May 1, 2014

Nuclear-energy giant Exelon launched a $6.8 billion takeover of Washington’s century-old local electric company on Wednesday, promising long-suffering Pepco customers better service and a quicker response when the lights do go out.

Consumer advocates and government officials across Pepco’s service area, which includes the District and much of suburban Maryland, largely welcomed the proposed merger, which would inject fresh resources and personnel into a company whose record for reliability has long ranked among the worst in the nation….read more…

Online: “Nuclear giant Exelon to buy Washington’s Pepco in $6.8 billion energy deal”

My latest on the crime beat for The Washington Post.

Online: “Great Falls woman charged with hosting party where 15-year-old girl overdosed on alcohol”

This was a fun story: Not only did I get to study historic cites from the American Revolution and the Civil War, but the photo department found some phenomenal pictures to illustrate the sites in question.

In today’s paper on B3.


Many historic sites are in jeopardy
BY ZACH C. COHEN
zach.cohen@washpost.com
The Washington Post
April 30, 2014

The commonwealth’s rich history includes land where the English first settled in the New World and enslaved people sought rest on their way to freedom. But many of those places are in jeopardy from decay and development, weather and lack of resources, according to Preservation Virginia, a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting historic locales.

The group’s annual list of endangered historic sites was released Tuesday…read more…


Online: “Many of Virginia’s historic sites are in jeopardy”
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Categories Clips, Journalism, The Washington Post

‘First lady says kids pay a price for the Washington life’

I went to the White House Thursday to report on the White House’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Check out my web brief.


Obama fields questions, and a pitch, from kids
BY ZACH C. COHEN
zach.cohen@washpost.com
The Washington Post
April 25, 2014

First lady Michelle Obama acknowledged Thursday that the children of White House workers pay a price for all their parents do to help the president.

“We know how much you guys sacrifice because your parents work here,” Obama said. “You know, for many of you, I know it’s hard when your mom and dad [say:] ‘You know, I’m going to miss dinner tonight because I have to work late,’ or ‘There’s a meeting on Saturday, so I’ll miss your game,’ or ‘I have to travel next week, and I might not be able to get to that recital.’

“Our kids go through it,” she added, “and it’s not a lot of fun.”

On Thursday, Obama tried to bring a little of the fun back by hosting about 150 children of White House staffers at the annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day…read more…

Online: “First lady says kids pay a price for the Washington life

Updated April 25 at 12:56 p.m.

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Categories Clips, Journalism, The Washington Post

‘Struggling to piece together chaos at the zoo’

I got to go the Smithsonian’s National Zoo today for work. Here’s an update on Monday’s shooting across the street with eyewitness accounts of that “crazy” day.

But more importantly, I saw no fewer than three pandas.

My latest for The Washington Post, today on B1 and continued on B4 with a tease on A1.

Thanks to Peter Hermann for leading my and Harrison Misiko’s reporting, and to editor Chris Jenkins for deciding to put me on the Metro to report on this story in the first place.


Struggling to piece together chaos at the zoo
BY PETER HERMANN, ZACH C. COHEN AND HARRY MISIKO
The Washington Post
April 23, 2014

Shortly past 5 p.m. Monday, the main entrance to the National Zoo teemed with people enjoying one of the attraction’s busiest days of the year. Tourists and mothers pushing baby carriages jostled for position as other visitors, enjoying the annual family day at the zoo, poured onto Connecticut Avenue.

Just then, a large crowd of men and women arrived at the zoo’s entrance. That came as authorities inside were in the process of expelling about three dozen disruptive youngsters from near the elephant exhibit. All of a sudden, hundreds of people milled about at the zoo’s entrance.

Then, at 5:17, someone pulled a gun and fired several shots. Once again — just like in 2000, when seven people were shot, and again in 2011, when a young boy was stabbed — an Easter Monday at the zoo became a day of terror and chaos for out-of-towners and native Washingtonians alike…read more…

Online: “Police search for motive in shooting outside National Zoo

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Categories Clips, Journalism, The Washington Post

‘Long unclaimed, 2 veterans found’

TWo WWWII veterans were left in a funeral home for over 25 years.

Yesterday, they came “home.” On B4, teased on A1.


Long unclaimed, 2 veterans honored
BY ZACH C. COHEN zach.cohen@washpost.com
The Washington Post
April 17, 2014

TRIANGLE, Va. — No one who attended Wednesday’s funeral service at Quantico National Cemetery had ever met the two World War II-era veterans who were being laid to rest.

Their names, their ranks and their decorations had only recently been learned. No one could even say where the men were from.

What the attendees did know was that the men’s ashes had been found, unclaimed for more than 25 years, in a funeral home in Norfolk…read more…

Online: “Veterans, unclaimed for 25 years, laid to rest with honors at Quantico”

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Categories Clips, Journalism, The Washington Post