From the NY Observer:
The Washington Post’s publisher Katharine Weymouth sent out an email to her staff this morning declaring that the business model for the paper would have to undergo a “fundamental change.” First, they’re going hyper-local! Washingtonpost.com is going to be recast itself as a local news and information site for people who live in or near the Beltway.
From Weymouth’s memo, as reported by the NYO
The three pillars of our strategy are:
–Being about Washington, for Washingtonians, and those affected by it
–Providing utility, engagement, and convenience for our local readers
–Extending our brand with new products and new platforms
My first reaction? I live in Washington, and I want my local paper to do more than just give me the local news. Nothing against “utility, engagement, and convenience,” but I wonder what this kind of journalistic locavorism will do to the Post, one of the few major U.S. papers still standing. Is going local the only way papers (not necessarily in print form) will survive?
Carole Fortuna says
I agree that hyper-local isn’t the answer. This attitude/focus is much of what has been wrong with the Post in the past couple of decades anyway… it reads like the lifestyle magazine of choice for the DC suburbs rather than the newspaper for a fascinating and powerful city with unique flair.
DC as a locale isn’t that inherently interesting. It’s a hodgepodge of people mostly from other places (I happen to be a native, but I’m an oddball) mostly living in a ring of blandish suburbs and exurbs. But DC as a power entity? Now that’s fascinating. If I were Queen of the Post I’d make the newspaper what you have to read to understand Congress, the Supreme Court, the labyrinth of embassies, lobbying, etc., but in a superbly engaging style and with internationally powerful reporting, political commentary, analysis and even cartoons that make Washington pop for people who otherwise get all their news from the WSJ, the Times of London or the NYTimes.
Hyper local sounds like a death knell to me.
From your fingers to Katharine Weymouth’s ear. I’d love to read the Post you describe.