Posts Tagged ‘Katharine Weymouth’
Here is the letter that was dispatched to WaPo employees today from Katharine Weymouth:
This is a day that my family and I never expected to come. The Washington Post Company is selling the newspaper it has owned and nurtured for eight decades.
In addition to The Washington Post, the company is selling Greater Washington Publishing, the Gazette newspapers, Express, El Tiempo Latino and Robinson Terminal.
The buyer is one of America’s great innovators and most respected business leaders, Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer and founder of Amazon.com. Jeff is making this acquisition in his personal capacity and not as part of Amazon.
In his own remarks, Don has addressed why the company has made this decision. I want to focus on the future. I firmly believe that today’s announcement represents a remarkable opportunity for us, unique among media companies. In Jeff we have found an owner who believes in The Post as a business but also cares deeply about the role it serves in our society.
Jeff is widely known, of course, as the founder and CEO of Amazon. He is a proven entrepreneur who, like the Graham family and this company, takes the long-term view in his investments. While he expects The Post to remain profitable, his focus is on the essential role that our journalism has on dialogue and the flow of information in our society.
Jeff knows as well as anyone the opportunities that come with revolutionary technology when we understand how to make the most of it. Under his ownership, we will be able to accelerate the pace and quality of innovation.
I am incredibly proud of the work that we have done together over the past 5 years, and I know that sentiment is shared by the entire senior management team. Read more
WaPo announced today that it has signed a contract to be sold to Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos.
“Everyone at the Post Company and everyone in our family has always been proud of The Washington Post — of the newspaper we publish and of the people who write and produce it,” said Donald Graham, Chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company. “I, along with Katharine Weymouth and our board of directors, decided to sell only after years of familiar newspaper-industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the Post (after a transaction that would be in the best interest of our shareholders). Jeff Bezos’ proven technology and business genius, his long-term approach and his personal decency make him a uniquely good new owner for the Post.”
Bezos: “I understand the critical role the Post plays in Washington, DC and our nation, and the Post’s values will not change. Our duty to readers will continue to be the heart of the Post, and I am very optimistic about the future.”
Bezos has asked Katharine Weymouth, CEO and Publisher of The Washington Post; Stephen P. Hills, President and General Manager; Martin Baron, Executive Editor; and Fred Hiatt, Editor of the Editorial Page to continue in those roles.
Weymouth: “With Mr. Bezos as our owner, this is the beginning of an exciting new era. I am honored to continue as CEO and Publisher. I have asked the entire senior management team at all of the businesses being sold to continue in their roles as well.”
UPDATE: From a WaPo insider commenting on the office meeting….”Silence for much of the meeting. not really anger or dread, but more wondering what’s next. And there weren’t a lot of questions. People gave Don a nice ovation at the end. It feels like people understand that this is something that had to be done, and even Don said something to the effect of ‘Jeff can do things for this paper that we can’t.’ (Not a direct quote)”
More details on the sale… Read more
WaPo is gearing up to debut its paywall. The publication announced today that its metered subscription model will be phased in over several weeks beginning on June 12. They plan to implement the meter to “random selections of readers” to achieve “the best possible experience.”
From the sounds of it, they’re counting on readers to digest a hell of a lot of stories.
As explained in the release, the metered model will initially require… Read more
Over the weekend, WaPo‘s ombudsman Patrick Pexton signed off for the last time. Pexton completed his two-year position. And now his position has died. As has widely been reported, WaPo‘s days of having an ombudsman are over.
In the writeup, Pexton compliments the paper, the reporters, the copy editors and management profusely. He insists people should have compassion for those tasked with making tough calls where layoffs are concerned. But one line that jumped out at us as odd in Pexton’s farewell was the following, perhaps unintentional, kick in the pants that he sandwiched in right after thanking Post Co. chief executive Donald Graham and Publisher Katharine Weymouth for never interfering with what he wrote.
“And readers, you should know that, although the future Post may not look like the present Post, the commitment of Graham and Weymouth to the survival of this publication is ironclad.”
Whoa! Survival? Read more
WaPo‘s Publisher Katharine Weymouth is holding one of her regular Town Hall meetings today with Washington Post employees. But this one could be rather rough as it will be the first Town Hall since news of her pay raise and big bonus broke. After she announced that profits are 66 percent down, Weymouth could face newsroom wrath with the union riled over the fact that Weymouth is getting a 16.4 percent pay hike. Media Matters unearthed the numbers in an SEC filing, reporting that Weymouth’s salary was $537,000 in 2010, but effective April, 11 it is now $625,000.
WaPo‘s 2010 SEC filings were released this week. In a year when the newspaper saw tough cuts in staff, publisher Katharine Weymouth (granddaughter of famed Post publisher Katharine Graham) earned $537,000 and a bonus of $483,750, plus an additional $1,053,441 based on a pre-established long-term pay plan. She’s also getting a 16.5% raise in her 2011 salary. Not too shabby. Except that now, staffers at WaPo are…displeased.
Ylan Q. Mui tweeted a link to Footnoted, which has the whole story on the SEC filings, adding: “@washingtonpost publisher Katharine Weymouth gets $2 mil and a raise while newsroom enjoys cost-cutting.” J. Freedom Du Lac tweeted the same link after saying: “Trending topic at WaPo: ‘Katharine Weymouth gets $2M and raise while newsroom enjoys cost-cutting.’”
After seeing that their tweets at made it onto NYP‘s Page Six, du Lac tweeted again: “Are we fired yet?” Let’s hope not. But just think of how much more money Weymouth could pay herself if you are…
“Inside the messy collapse of a great newspaper.” That’s the sub-headline of TNR‘s fiery article about the Post “apocalypse” that FishbowlDC previewed this evening.
From Susan Glasser‘s rise and fall as editor of the the national desk, the birth of Politico and Katharine Weymouth‘s “salon” fiasco to the hire of Marcus Brauchli and the “mad bitch” beer scandal, the five-page piece by Gabriel Sherman tracks the events leading up to what he describes as a major “identity crisis.”
Sherman says, “the Post seems to be paralyzed – and trapped. It can’t go completely local because the local news in Washington is, in many respects, national; and its status as the paper of record for national politics is under assault from numerous competitors – competitors it isn’t clear the Post can defeat.”
While the piece draws no clear conclusions, the painful recap of the paper’s hardships is sure to get some attention.
Notice anything different about your paper this morning? WaPo unveiled a new look today, complete with an eight-page “Redesign Owner’s Manual,” which includes notes from publisher Katharine Weymouth, editor Marcus Brauchli and editorial editor Fred Hiatt.
Most noticeable changes include: bigger, more readable fonts, navigation bars across the tops of section fronts, Health & Science section now on Tuesdays, Local Living section on Thursdays, new opinion page Washington Forum in the A-section, and classifieds have been moved to the Local Living and Sports sections. Reporters’ emails are now at end of their pieces and columnists like Howard Kurtz and Al Kamen‘s photos have been added to their columns.
WaPo welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and staffers were prepped this weekend on how to handle reader feedback. That memo (via Politico) is after the jump…
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