Economic Club member Katharine Weymouth, Publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, and the new Executive Editor of The Washington Post Marty Baron joined President David M. Rubenstein for a discussion of the state of the news media industry at a May luncheon meeting of the Economic Club. The three participants discussed the history of The Washington Post and the central role the publication has played in meeting the news and information needs of the greater Washington community over the past century. According to Ms. Weymouth, there “actually [are] more readers between 18 and 35 who read The Washington Post than go to Starbucks in a given month.” Mr. Baron also addressed the subject of the “singular role in American politics and in American journalism” of The Washington Post. He said, “I think there’s probably no other institution that has inspired more journalists than The Washington Post. And it was an institution that had inspired me when I was getting into the field in the 1970s as well.”
In talking about the future of The Post, Ms. Weymouth said, “we’ve invested millions of dollars this year in video, which is a really exciting space for us. It’s the first time that as a newspaper we can sort of disrupt the TV space. We have more reporters on the street than any local news – and so we’re doing a big video push that will launch in June. We’ve launched a conference business, like lots of media organizations have, that’s been tremendously successful. We have little ‘Angie’s Lists’, called servicealley.com. We have our local business publication that I’m sure you all subscribe to, Capital Business – just a little plug. Tom Heath writes for it brilliantly. So we’re sort of innovating and thinking about what are our assets, what makes strategic sense for us and we’re investing there."
Excerpts from Event
“. . . we are a mission-driven business. My family has always firmly believed that good journalism and good business go hand-in-hand. What people don’t really realize is that we never really got paid for the news. We got paid for the bundle and the distribution . . . If you were an advertiser and you wanted to reach Washington . . . you were basically going to buy the Post. It was the most effective way to reach Washington – and it still is. . .” ~ Katharine Weymouth, Publisher and CEO, The Washington Post
“. . . we produce, I think, the best news and analysis in the country. And that matters to people. In this age, where we’re all flooded with information, much of which we don’t know how well we can trust it or not, we’re making a bet and we believe that quality matters more than ever. People come to us when they want to understand a news event, what it means, how’s it going to affect my life. We still have the number one penetration of any major metro in the country . . .” ~ Katharine Weymouth, Publisher and CEO, The Washington Post