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KEEPING IT CLEAN AT THE NEWS

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Morning News reporters at first thought the memo was a joke. But new Executive Editor Burl Osborne wasn’t kidding.

In a memo dated March 9, Osborne told reporters that they had to keep their desks spotless. If they didn’t, files kept on top or stored beneath their desks would be ash-canned.

The memo, which included five neatness tips, speaks for itself:

“Items left on the desk must be manageable and reasonable.. .loose papers or newspapers will be thrown away… Periodic, unannounced inspections will be conducted; all material considered in violation will be thrown away.”

The neatness tips included the following hints worthy of Heloise: “When you accumulate more than five pieces of paper on any subject, you should make a file for that subject. Keep that file in a drawer of your desk. Resist the temptation to leave other projects and material on your desk. It will simply distract you…”

Given Osborne’s vocal commitment to improving the Morning News, it makes one wonder if neatness counts at the Washington Post.

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