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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Halleluyah! I am Headed Back to the Newsroom!!

Can you tell I am excited? To be honest, I have never been so excited about a job in my entire career as I am about becoming Editorial Page Editor of The Washington Examiner and a member of Clarity Media Group's National Editorial Board.

In addition to overseeing the editorial pages of the three Washington-area editions of the Examiner, I will also have a role in The Baltimore Examiner, which begins publication in a few days.

And if that's not enough to make my mouth water (and believe me it is!), I will also have a hand in crafting future editorial products as a member of the National Editorial Board and in building the online editions of the Examiner that will ultimately become the organization's major publishing asset.

Tapscott's Copy Desk and Tapscott Behind the Wheel go on, though my posting may be limited for a while as I settle in and learn the ropes at the Examiner. There is a media revolution going on and I get to be right smack dab in the middle of it.

I am so excited I can hardly contain myself people!!!

Of course, leaving The Heritage Foundation where I have been for the past six and a half years is bittersweet. I have been blessed with so many incredible opportunities here at Heritage as Director of the Center for Media and Public Policy.

Through the Media Center's Database 101/201 Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting (CARR) Boot Camps at the National Press Club, we've trained more than 200 journalists and bloggers in using statistical analysis to uncover news that would otherwise go unreported.

We've also organized issue seminars that attracted journalists from virtually every major daily newspaper in the country, including one on entitlement reform last October at the National Press Club that was co-hosted by the Media Center with the Brookings Institution and the National Press Foundation.

In a very real sense, I am most proud of that October event because it is almost unprecedented to see two major think tanks of differing ideological perspectives working together with one of the most highly respected professional journalism organizations in the world, NPF, on an issue that almost certainly will soon dominate American public policy for decades to come.

Having the opportunity to testify before the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives on the need for greater transparency in government and reform of the Freedom of Information Act was also a tremendous honor.

The cause of transparency and FOIA reform has drawn support from across the political spectrum and I must say that through the experience of working on this issue I have gained a wealth of new and immensely valued friends on the Right and Left.

And being inducted into the National FOI Hall of Fame last week was humbling and simply amazing. I keep telling Paul McMasters, who oversees the Hall at the Freedom Forum, that I "am still amazed" ever since he first informed me of my selection because I am.

It's been an amazing six-plus years indeed and I thank the Lord every day for how He has blessed me through the years at The Heritage Foundation.

But look what's ahead! I have no doubt that the next six years are going to be even more fun and exciting.

Here's the official announcement published in today's editions of The Washington Examiner:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Washington Examiner has appointed Mark Tapscott as Editorial Page Editor and a member of Clarity Media's National Editorial Board.

“Washington is a three-newspaper town again for the first time in decades and I look forward to publishing an editorial page that consistently brings a steady voice of calm reason to the issues Washingtonians care most about,” Tapscott said.

Tapscott comes to the Examiner from The Heritage Foundation where in 1999 he started an innovative Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting (CARR) boot camp program that has trained more than 200 journalists in using statistical analysis to uncover news.

He has been Director of the foundation's Center for Media and Public Policy and the foundation's Guardabassi Fellow since 2001. He is an active member of the National Press Club and has been lauded by the National Press Foundation for his contributions to journalism education.

Tapscott has testified before Congress for strengthening the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and is a widely published advocate of greater transparency in government, protection of First Amendment freedoms and encouraging citizens journalism.

He was inducted into the National FOIA Hall of Fame March 16 during the National FOI Day Conference at the Freedom Forum in Arlington.

He is also editor of two blogs, Tapscott's Copy Desk and Tapscott Behind the Wheel.

Before joining Heritage, Tapscott was Managing Editor of The Journal Newspapers' Montgomery County edition where his staff won 31 awards from the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association for excellence in reporting between 1997 and 1999.

Tapscott's journalism career began in 1985 at The Washington Times where he variously served as an investigative reporter, Business and National Editor and Assistant Managing Editor for Night News.

Prior to becoming a journalist, Tapscott was a Reagan administration appointee at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and before that was press secretary for two Republican House Members and a U.S. Senator.

He will continue writing the weekly Behind the Wheel automotive reviews that have appeared under his byline since 1985. Tapscott is a resident of Sykesville, Maryland.