Rumors are afoot at Roll Call that Editor-in-Chief Melinda Henneberger is out.
Reporters are scampering to figure out what’s going on. They assure The Mirror that something weird is in the air.
At the moment, they’re being told that Henneberger is on vacation this week.
Henneberger came to work for the struggling publication last November. Many journalists who have worked there or who are still employed there believe she is largely responsible for dismantling of the publication and for the firings and resignations of many experienced reporters such as White House correspondent Steve Dennis, congressional scribe Matt Fuller and David Eldridge. The pub’s most recent big loss is columnist Stu Rothenberg, who is now at the The Washington Post. Eldridge was laid off in October, 2015. He now works for InsideSources. Before Roll Call, he spent 15 years at TWT. Dennis, now at Bloomberg, was laid off that same month. So was Fuller, who is now at HuffPost.
“If she isn’t [out] I’d say it’s probably a matter of days,” said an insider of Henneberger’s employment status.
“That’s what it seems like,” yet another source said. “But I suppose if a reporter suspects she’s out, she probably is.”
Huh? How wouldn’t they know?
“The broad answer to your question is that’s how RC is,” the source replied. “Details are sketchy. The whole thing is nuts.”
Sources tell The Mirror that Roll Call employees are “acting goofy.” In other words, “It’s hard to read. There’s something in the air. Uncertainty. Blah blah blah.”
Others are more certain about Henneberger’s demise.
“Melinda Henneberger is done,” said another insider, adding, “I’m not surprised given how low the ratings are and [her] taking [the publication] away from its bread and butter.”
CQ Roll Call is preparing to move its operation from its Capitol Hill address behind Union Station to a new office space near K Street NW.
“Basically everything the paper had been doing well, she destroyed,” said an insider, explaining that she replaced it with conservative, pro-life, anti-Clinton commentary by her friends. “It was strange.”
The Mirror made attempts to contact Henneberger as well as Chief Content Officer and Senior Vice President David Ellis. A spokeswoman calling herself Lisa Linden phoned The Mirror and said she was calling on behalf of Ellis. She said she’d give me a comment when she could.
Asked if Henneberger was out, she had no response. “I’ll call you back when I can,” she said.
And then she abruptly hung up.
Rothenberg severed ties with Roll Call in May after working there for 24 years. He said he was increasingly uncomfortable with the publication’s management.
“I have been increasingly unhappy with Roll Call’s coverage, believing that they are chasing the story of the day, especially Trump. That meant they were paying less attention to Congress and congressional elections, which always was their bread-and-butter. I disagreed with management’s approach and style, so I ended the relationship,” he told Politico.
Clarification: CQ Roll Call hasn’t officially moved its operation to the K Street neighborhood just yet. But the deal is well in the works.