IN a memo to staff obtained by Politico, Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth discusses the long-term strategy of the paper: to make its product "indispensable" to its customers.
The strategy includes three-pillars, to focus the paper "on Washington, for Washingtonians and those affected by it," to provide "utility, engagement and convenience for local readers" and "extend the brand with new products and new platforms."
To achieve its goals, the Post will address readers' "core needs," and increase its "practical utility" online. The paper will "diversify" its business model by creating new, relevant products. Weymouth emphasized speed in the transition, saying that the paper's mission of "making sense of Washington has never been more important."
Over the summer, a team of 40 WaPo staffers from various departments created a detailed analysis of the paper, evaluating its effectiveness for both readers and advertisers, its cost-effectiveness in how it publishes and its competitive "advantage" compared to other news outlets.
Despite a growing online market, Weymouth wrote, the results are not enough to "offset the larger declines in print revenue and profitability."
Weymouth said the strategy review was not to find a quick "fix" for the business model, but instead propose an "integrated set of choices" to maintain the paper's quality and position the company for a financial rebound.
The intention is to prioritize what is important for readers, Weymouth wrote, to focus "increasingly scarce resources." Based in Washington, Weymouth reminded staff that the paper's market is "not only an affluent, highly educated, growing market, but that it is, of course uniquely, the nation's capital and the seat of government."
The changes, Weymouth concluded, do not change the paper's "bedrock principles." She outlined that the Post needed to be "creative, adaptive and resourceful" in the way it positioned its business.