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Before The Scandal, WaPo Publisher Weymouth Talked New Revenue Streams At Aspen Ideas Fest

While we were immersed in the Personal Democracy Forum in New York last week, the Aspen Ideas Festival was underway out west.

The conference, hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic was chock full of media movers and shakers discussing weighty topics (that we love) like the future of journalism. It’s taking us awhile to sift through all the video clips (suggestions and tips welcome) but we did find Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth espousing “disciplined cost cutting and finding new revenue streams” in the clip above.

Meanwhile, news of one new revenue stream designed by the Post — off the record salons with reporters in return for cash — broke while Weymouth was in Aspen. (Listen in to today’s podcast for more about the salons.)

In the clip above Weymouth, speaking on the “What’s Next for the News Business” panel, said papers had gotten “fat in the happy years that I tragically missed.” She pointed out that in its glory days, when it broke the Watergate scandal, the Post‘s newsroom was half the size it is today.

And, while we’re on the subject, Weymouth wrote a letter to readers yesterday apologizing for the off the record salon debacle.

“Like other media companies, The Post hosts conferences and live events that bring together journalists, government officials and other leaders for discussions of important topics,” she explained. “These events make news and inform their audiences. We had planned to extend this business to include smaller gatherings, a practice that has become common at other media companies.”

However, “Our mistake was to suggest that we would hold and participate in an off-the-record dinner with journalists and power brokers paid for by a sponsor. We will not organize such events. As publisher it is my job to ensure that we adhere to standards that are consistent with our integrity as a news organization…The Washington Post remains committed, now and always, to the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Nothing is more important to us than that, and nothing will shake that commitment.”

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