PERSONAL: Male. Education: Graduated from University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
ADDRESSES: Office—Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1255 22nd St., NW, Washington, DC 20037.
CAREER: Journalist and author. Washington Post, Washington, DC, political researcher and researcher for columnist David Broder, 1991-93; News and Observer, Raleigh, NC, science and technology reporter, 1994-95; WashingtonPost.Newsweek Interactive/DigitalInk, Arlington, VA, senior editor for PoliticsNow.com, 1996, WashingtonPost.com politics editor and managing editor for political news, 1997-2000, vice president for multimedia and news partnerships, 2001-02, co-managing editor for online news and senior editor for continuous news, 2003-05.
(With S. Robert Lichter and Larry J. Sabato) Peep-show: Media and Politics in an Age of Scandal, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2000.
Contributor to print and Internet publications.
SIDELIGHTS: A political researcher for the Washington Post as well as for columnist David Broder, journalist Mark Stencel teamed up with Larry King to write On the Line: The New Road to the White House. "A lively account of a strange campaign," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, the book recounts such stellar 1992 U.S. presidential election highlights as the rise of Ross Perot, Bill Clinton's saxophone solo on the Arsenio Hall Show, California governor and presidential wannabe Jerry Brown's ubiquitous 800 phone number, and other unique aspects of that campaign, including the sudden prominence of television talk show host Larry King as a political gatekeeper.
From 1997 to 2001, as the editor in charge of political coverage on the Washington Post's OnPolitics.com, Stencel was an active participant in the coverage of the Clinton impeachment and the presidential campaign that brought George W. Bush to the White House. As such, he often had to make decisions about what political controversies and scandals were news-worthy and what should be ignored or downplayed. In Peepshow: Media and Politics in an Age of Scandal he joins media critics Larry Sabato and S. Robert Lichter in analyzing the editorial decision-making process and offering guidelines for journalists weighing the public's right to know against privacy rights.
The coauthors begin by discussing scandals involving various politicians and describing the editorial process that turned them into major stories. They also consider the impact of alternative newspapers and the Internet in driving such decisions, as these new vehicles provided new outlets for a public interested in accessing unbiased information. Overall, "the authors identify a downward spiral of editorial standards, yet characterize it as more or less inevitable," explained Hans Mathias Kepplinger in the Public Opinion Quarterly. Still, in Peepshow they attempt to limit the feeding frenzy by urging journalists to distinguish between hypocrisy and simple human fallibility, and between vices and ethical or legal violations. "Treading carefully through complex terrain, Stencel, Lichter and Sabato manage to illuminate workable guidelines for navigating the line between public and private," concluded a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Boston Globe, July 27, 2000, Mark Jurkowitz, review of Peepshow: Media and Politics in an Age of Scandal, section F, p. 6.
Campaigns & Elections, April, 2000, review of Peep-show, p. 20.
New York Times Book Review, December 26, 1993, review of On the Line: The New Road to the White House, p. 12.
Public Opinion Quarterly, summer, 2003, Hans Mathias Kepplinger, review of Peepshow, p. 302.
Publishers Weekly, November 8, 1993, review of On the Line, p. 67; March 20, 2000, review of Peep-show, p. 80.
Medill School of Journalism Web site, http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/ (April 4, 2000), "Drawing a Line in the Scandal."