International Finance
Economy

Crown Jewel of Newspapers Surrendered

The newspaper which had a staff of more than thousand journalists, reporters and other workers has since steadily dropped to 640 workers. 9th August 2013 “I along with Katharine Weymouth and our board of directors, decide to sell after years of familiar newspaper industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the post”  Donald E.Graham, chairman and...

The newspaper which had a staff of more than thousand journalists, reporters and other workers has since steadily dropped to 640 workers.

9th August 2013

“I along with Katharine Weymouth and our board of directors, decide to sell after years of familiar newspaper industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the post”  Donald E.Graham, chairman and chief executive of The Washington Post Company told the staff about the sale late Monday afternoon. They had gathered in the newspaper’s auditorium at the behest of the publisher, Katharine Weymouth, his niece.

Mr. Graham closed his remarks by saying nobody in the room should be sad- except, he said, “for me”, pausing several times, voice full of emotion, eyes dreary and shoulders drooping, leaving the crowd stunned. The Washington Post had been sold to Jeff Bezoz the founder and C.E.O of Amazon.com the online retail giant for $ 250 million, the transaction covers The Washington Post, Fairfax County, Southern Maryland Newspapers, EI Tiempo Latino, the Express Newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers and the Greater Washington Publishing. Graham’s family has owned the newspaper since Eugene Meyer bought it at a bankruptcy auction in 1933, the newspaper since has experienced turbulent times, Graham and Weymouth saw circulation drop from 832,332 average subscribers, in 1993, to 474,767. The newspaper which had staff of more than thousand journalists, reporters and other workers has since steadily dropped to 640 workers. The 1970’s saw the paper reach the pinnacle of world’s journalism history, along with The New York Times, it published the controversial Pentagon Papers, a secret government literature on Vietnam War. The Paper however gained international reputation when it broke the “Watergate Scandal” which led to the resignation of the then U.S. President Richard Nixon.

Watergate Scandal

Between 1972 and 1976 two young reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post uncovered an infamous story at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington D.C., Woodward and Bernstein uncovered a system of “dirty tricks” and crimes that eventually led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon.

The Positives

As David Remnick a journalist quips, the newspaper is still capable of extraordinary journalism, in June this year it broke the controversial NSA leaks by Edward Snowden along with Guardian, a week back it had interviewed Egyptian military coup leader Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. The Post is however a poor reflection of its former self mainly due to cheaper access to internet, declining revenues and a drop in readership.

Ken Doctor, an analyst at Outsell, said “Newspapers are not really creatures of the market place anymore; they are not throwing off much in profits. They need shelter from the presence of quarterly financial statements and reports”

The acquisition, the recent in a series of recent media deals including The New York Times Company’s sale of The Boston Globe for $ 70 million, is a further indication of the unprecedented challenges that newspapers face as advertising revenues and readership decline.

Shares of The Washington Post, shot up to more than 5 percent to $ 599.95, the highest since five years.

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