The Washington Post Is Odds-On Fave to Survive

Newspaper trimmed staff, and it's paid off: Wolff
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2009 4:00 PM CDT
The Washington Post building in Washington.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Like America's other newspapers, the Washington Post is in pain, operating $86 million in the red after axing 400 reporters. “And yet,” Newser founder Michael Wolff writes in Vanity Fair, “if you had to look for a circumstance out of which a newspaper might have the chance to re-invent itself, the Post would be a pretty good candidate.” Why? Well, it owns a cash-cow in Stanley Kaplan, the SAT-study firm, and has—perhaps shockingly—made good business decisions.

Two years ago, the Post entered “existential horror” mode and appointed a young scion of the owning family, Katharine Weymouth, to solve the paper's financial crisis. Cutting back staff, she focused on local news and invested only modestly in an online presence—whereas the New York Times "invested massively." Weymouth's "lame-o salons" did embarrass the Post, but morale remains high as the staff pulls for her family, "and for themselves, and for whatever it is they’re going to become."