Friday, May 23, 2008

Quagmire at the Washington Post

The steady decline of the dead-tree media continues.

Maybe some of them can start a blog.
More than 100 Washington Post reporters, editors, photographers, artists and other journalists will take early retirement packages offered by the company as a way to cut costs, reducing the newsroom staff by at least 10 percent.

A number of familiar bylines will leave for good or no longer appear regularly in the paper, including those of military affairs reporter Thomas E. Ricks; feature writers Linton Weeks and Peter Carlson; health reporter Laura Sessions Stepp; science reporter Rick Weiss; the husband-and-wife foreign correspondent team of John Ward Anderson and Molly Moore; critics Stephen Hunter, Desson Thomson and Tim Page; Federal Diary columnist Stephen Barr; Weekend writers Richard Harrington and Eve Zibart; and Metro reporters Sue Anne Pressley Montes and Yolanda Woodlee.

Political dean David Broder took the package but will remain on contract; his column will continue to appear in The Post. Sports columnist and ESPN personality Tony Kornheiser also took the offer, but his most recent full-length column in The Post appeared in 2005. Since then, his presence has been largely limited to printed excerpts from his daily Talking Points video, which is planned to continue.
At the current rate of progress, or lack thereof, this won't be the last of the job cuts.
In 1999, for instance, the newspaper division of The Post Co. reported $157 million in operating income. By 2007, that number had fallen to $66 million. Daily average circulation of The Post peaked at 832,232 in 1993. It stands at 638,300.

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