In 1976, he began his journalism career at the San Francisco Chronicle; his assignments included the trial of publishing heiress Patty Hearst. He joined The Washington Post in 1980. Working his way up through the ranks, he was first a city-hall reporter at the paper. He then became the assistant city editor; a foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and London, England; and, most recently, the assistant managing editor of the paper's style section. He began writing columns for the opinion page of the paper in 2005, also writes a twice-a-week column on politics and culture, and conducts a weekly online conversation with readers.