"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Extra, Extra!


John Henry buys the Boston Globe and the Graham’s sell the Washington Post.

Here’s David Remnick:

After talking with the board of directors, Donald Graham quietly began looking for a potential buyer around Christmas of 2012. “We were in our seventh consecutive year of declining revenues, and there was the question of, What could we do?” Graham told me. The company had bought Slate and Foreign Policy (and is holding on to them) and sold Newsweek (which changed hands again this weekend). “Our strategy had been to innovate like hell in digital and other businesses and offset the declines in print revenues. But Katharine said the declines were going to go on, for the eighth and ninth straight years. And so …”

The trends were violent and undeniable. Graham and Weymouth saw circulation drop from 832,332 average subscribers, in 1993, to 474,767. The newsroom staff was once more than a thousand; it is now around six hundred and forty. The paper is still capable of extraordinary journalism—in June, it broke the Edward Snowden-National Security Agency surveillance story, along with the Guardian, and, only last Sunday, scored the first interview with the leader of the Egyptian military coup, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, in which the general said, nervily, “you have turned your back on the Egyptians and they won’t forget it.” But the Post is clearly a diminished version of its old self. It is still serious and grounded, but not quite essential in the way its rival, the Times, remains.

And our pal Peter Richmond.

[Photo Credit: Lisa Provence]


1 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 6, 2013 1:50 pm

I think it will be interesting to see what Bezos does with the Post. I know what I hope he will do.

As for the Globe, let's be honest - it was already the mouthpiece for John Henry and Co, but at least now he has to pay for it.

2 garydsimms   ~  Aug 6, 2013 3:05 pm

So when I lived in NY, I read the Times every day; I moved to DC and subscribed to the Post, just in time for Watergate. The Post has been a wonderful paper (while the sports reporting is woeful, there are/have been several esxcellent columnists, like Tony Kornheiser, Mike Wilbon, Mike Wise, Sally Jenkins). The sports coverage until very recently has been all Skins, all the time. (They make some space for the Nats these days).

Hope Bezos finds a way to keep the paper product going. Reading it on-line is just not the same thing. He has, however publically said that he does not expect print papers to be around 20 years from now. Hope to live long enough to see him wrong.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 6, 2013 3:18 pm

1) What do you hope he'll do?

4 RIYank   ~  Aug 6, 2013 3:30 pm

Surely it's better that John Henry own the Globe than that the New York Times owns it. Too many newspapers are owned by too few oligopolists. This is a small step in the right direction.

Bezos might help the Post survive.

5 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Aug 6, 2013 3:50 pm

Whatever Bezos may be, he's not a robber baron or a liquidator. He was one of the first and most prominent to take an idea to the web and actually make it work for people rather than just cashing out. I've no emotional stake in the WaPo specifically, but for the industry that gave me my first paycheck, this move leaves me hopeful.

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