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A More National Washington Times?

Although higher ups maintain that its just in the brainstorming phase, we hear that, during a recent meeting with Washington Times brass and a handful of top reporters, Executive Editor John Solomon discussed a still-in-the-works plan to begin national distribution of the newspaper.

According to sources, The Times would appear as an insert within other papers; the inserts could be the full A section of the daily Washington broadsheet, or truncated to 12 or 16 pages. While many other papers are cutting back, The Times may expand to as many as a dozen cities, although exactly which cities is still up in the air.

UPDATE (12-4-08): Looks like our source may have been misinformed on this last part. Washington Times brass assures us that no such plans for national print distribution have been decided on. Instead, the paper discussed ways the paper can better serve readers across the country who increasingly are reading the paper’s content online. Solomon also challenged the team to think about what a possible national print edition of the newspaper might one day look — as a brainstorming exercise.

Solomon, according to sources, told the group that Times’ online readership has grown more than 300 percent since January as the paper has improved its political and investigative coverage, and he reported that growing numbers of people have been inquiring how they could get print copies of the paper outside the DC area.

He told the group that the paper is looking to expand its national readership audience through two current products: its weekly newspaper called The Washington Times National Weekly and its new daily e-edition which provides online readers an electronic replica of the daily newspaper to email inboxes. Working with partners, the Times has increased subscription rates to both products this fall.

The newspaper abandoned its printing operations earlier this year and is now printed in Baltimore. A new national distribution deal would likely mirror that arrangement, sources said.

The paper also recently unveiled a new wire service to distribute its copious copy to newspapers across the country.

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