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'Wash Times' Plans Staff Cuts, Some Free Distribution
By Joe Strupp
Published: December 02, 2009 4:05 PM ET
NEW YORK The Washington Times, recently rocked by major management shake-ups that included the departure of Editor John Solomon, announced a new business strategy that includes some free distribution to targeted federal offices and plans for "significant staff reductions."
"These changes will continue The Washington Times' transformation into a 21st century media company and reinforces its mission to provide an independent, alternative voice in the nation's capital," President and Publisher Jonathan Slevin said in an announcement. "We have developed plans to secure our position and advance our vital role in an evolving media marketplace and through challenging economic times. A new Washington Times will continue to reach readers and more effectively earn new audiences via digital, broadcast, print and wireless media.
"Changes at the Times are rooted in a rigorous business analysis, applying sound and tested financial principles, and shaping plans informed by current marketplace realities," continued Slevin. "In this regard, the company is aggressively working to achieve efficiencies of scale that must include significant staff reduction of its 370 personnel."
Among the changes announced:
• News focused on strengths. The Washington Times news operation will operate in a highly focused manner, investing in Washington Times' well-established core strengths that include exclusive reporting and in-depth national political coverage, enterprise and investigative
reporting, geo-strategic and national security news, and cultural coverage based on traditional values.
• Controlled-market local circulation. In the first quarter of 2010, the local print edition will be distributed at no cost in select areas, and home/office delivery will be offered at a premium price. No-cost distribution will focus on targeted audiences in branches of the federal
government as well as at other key institutions. Single copy sales will continue through newspaper boxes and retailers at select locations. Current subscribers will also be offered a choice of subscriptions to Washington Times digital editions and The Washington Times National Weekly.
• Digital news resources: The company will expand the recently-launched theconservatives.com, subscription-based e-briefings and other new digital information resources as part of its online strategy.
• Radio programming. The newspaper's 3-hour-a-day morning radio program, "America's Morning News," will continue to grow through syndication by Talk Radio Network. The program currently airs in more than 70 markets nationwide.
• Partnerships. The Washington Times will work closely with its affiliate company, United Press International (UPI), to mutually benefit both organizations through collaboration in areas such as photography and online sales, as well as leveraging UPI's multi-lingual and international presence.
"The new Washington Times will continue to report Washington-focused news that other journalistic enterprises often overlook," said Slevin. "Fearless reporting, respect for American values, and crisply written editorials and columns will remain the centerpieces of our new strategy, and our content will continue to engage readers and viewers through a wide range of 21st century media."
Joe Strupp (jstrupp@...) is a senior editor at E&P.
Damian J. Anderson